The History of Postage Rates
in the United States
Compiled by Andrew K. Dart
Effective date Per ½ Ounce  
March 3, 1863  
October 1, 1883  
  Per Ounce    
July 1, 1885    
       
Remarks
November 3, 1917    
Higher rate during the war
July 1, 1919      
      Postcards  
Sometime in 1898      
July 6, 1932    
January 1, 1952    
August 1, 1958    
January 7, 1963  
ZIP Code begins
January 7, 1968    
May 16, 1971    
March 2, 1974 10¢    
    Each  Additional  Ounce    
September 14, 1975 10¢  
December 31, 1975 13¢ 11¢  
May 29, 1978 15¢ 13¢ 10¢
"A"  stamps
March 22, 1981 18¢ 17¢ 12¢
"B"  stamps
November 1, 1981 20¢ 17¢ 13¢
"C"  stamps
October 1, 1983      
ZIP+4  is  implemented
February 17, 1985 22¢ 17¢ 14¢
"D"  stamps
April 3, 1988 25¢ 20¢ 15¢
"E"  stamps
February 3, 1991 29¢ 23¢ 19¢
"F"  stamps
January 1, 1995 32¢ 23¢ 20¢
"G"  stamps
January 10, 1999 33¢ 22¢ 20¢
"H"  stamps
January 7, 2001 34¢ 21¢ 20¢
Nondenominated stamps
July 1, 2001 34¢ 23¢ 21¢  
June 30, 2002 37¢ 23¢ 23¢
Flag and Antique Toy stamps
January 8, 2006 39¢ 24¢ 24¢  
February 26, 2007      
Forever Stamps introduced
May 14, 2007 41¢ 17¢ 26¢
May 12, 2008 42¢ 17¢ 27¢  
May 11, 2009 44¢ 17¢ 28¢  
April 17, 2011 44¢ 20¢ 29¢
Second-ounce increase
January 22, 2012 45¢ 20¢ 32¢  
January 27, 2013 46¢ 20¢ 33¢  
January 26, 2014 49¢ 21¢ 34¢  
         


Sources

Postage rates:  My father — a freelance bookkeeper for many years — kept a list like this, and I made a copy of his list sometime in the 1970's, and then kept updating it myself every time there was a rate increase.  Eventually I converted it into this HTML document.

Links to the US Postal Service web site are constantly changing, so there may be a number of broken links below.  Please bear with me while I weed them out.

Postage Rates and Historical Statistics.

Rates for Domestic Letters, 1863-2011.

Rates for Domestic Letters, 1792-1863.

Significant Dates in USPS history.

Timeline of Significant Dates in Post Office History.

Information about the most recent (proposed) increase came from the Exigent Price Filing FAQ page

Information about "A" through "H" stamps came from the US Postal Rate Commission.

ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, according to Unicover.

ZIP Code began July 1, 1963, according to The Postal Service History Page.

History of post card rates came from the US Postal Rate Commission, which has this to say about post card rates:  "The post card rate has remained at 20 cents since 1995.  On January 10, 1999, however, a one cent charge for the card itself was implemented, in addition to the postage.  Putting a 20 cent stamp on a private card avoids the one cent card charge."

Airmail rates are not shown here; however, it is worth noting that domestic airmail was eliminated as a separate subclass of mail service, effective May 1, 1977.*

ZIP+4 was announced in 1978 and implemented October 1, 1983 according to Unicover.

The Editor says...
ZIP+4 was supposed to make mail delivery faster and hold down costs.  Is delivery any faster?  (It's called "snail mail" for a reason.)  Since nine-digit ZIP codes were introduced, there have been more than a dozen rate increases.

Domestic Mail Rate History:  This document shows that ZIP+4 does hold down the cost of postage... but only for commercial bulk-rate customers.  In other words, it makes unsolicited junk mail easier to send, but it doesn't reduce the cost of a first-class letter at all.

Along the way I also found a complete Glossary of postal terms [PDF file] and a Postage Rate Calculator.
Broken link repaired 6/15/2009 -- thanks to Nils Carlson.

Complete Guide to Nondenominated Postage.
Broken link repaired 12/7/2008 -- thanks to David Kaufman.

New:  Inflation-adjusted postage rates,  in 2008 dollars.

You could make your own chart by using the On-line Inflation Calculator.

Updated 5/29/2010:  A reader by the name of Rob Haeseler sent in a correction:  The second line of the chart above was in error, and instead of March 3, 1883, the effective date for the two-cent rate was October 1, 1883.  Hearing no objections, the table has been modified accordingly.

Updated 4/5/2011:  A reader by the name of Steve Elwood noted that I had the wrong postcard rate on the last line of the table.  It should be (and now it is) 29 cents, not 30 cents, according to this table.

Added 1/20/2012:  If you are using historical postage rates in classroom instruction, you might also appreciate this handy tool to adjust prices for inflation.



News items regarding rate increases

The latest:

Postal Rate Basics.  New rates for Mailing and Shipping Services take effect January 26, 2014.

Regulators approve hike in cost of first-class stamps.  Postal regulators on Tuesday [12/24/2013] approved a price hike of 3 cents for a first-class stamp, bringing the charge to 49 cents a letter.

Price to go up on first-class stamps.  The higher rate will last no more than two years, allowing the Postal Service to recoup $2.8 billion in losses.

The Editor asks...
How many of you believe this is a temporary rate increase, and the price of a stamp will go back down in two years?

Postal Service chief on proposed postage rate hike: "We have little choice".  Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told senators Thursday that the cash-strapped Postal Service had "little choice" in proposing to raise the price of mailing a letter to 49 cents.  Donahoe's appearance Thursday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee came one day after the post office said it wanted to raise the price of a first-class stamp by 3 cents.  He's pressing lawmakers to act quickly on legislation to fix his agency, which expects to lose $6 billion this year.

Postal Service wants to increase cost of stamps, to 49 cents.  As part of the rate increase request, the cost for each additional ounce of first-class mail would increase a penny to 21 cents while the price of mailing a postcard would rise by a cent, to 34 cents.

Postal Service proposes 3-cent rate hike for stamps.  First-class postage stamps could rise to 49 cents starting in 2014 under a Wednesday [9/25/2013] proposal by the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service.  The increase would raise about $2 billion in additional revenue a year.  Under the plan, first-class mail postage would rise 3 cents, or 6.5%.  Pricing for other mail, including postcards and packages, would also rise on Jan. 26.

Stamp price jumps to 49 cents on Monday.  The U.S. Postal Service will increase the cost of a stamp on Monday to 49 cents from the current 46 cents. [...] The 49 cent stamp price is guaranteed for two years.


The end of Saturday deliveries:

In my opinion, if delivery days are to be reduced, it would be far better to eliminate Monday deliveries, because most federal holidays are observed on Mondays, and on those days there is already no mail.

U.S. Postal Service to cut Saturday delivery.  No more Saturday mail.  That's the solution reached by U.S. Postal Service officials to trim $2 billion from the budget, to be formally announced Wednesday [2/6/2013].  The USPS will halt Saturday mail delivery service, starting in August, according to The Associated Press.

Post Office to end Saturday deliveries.  You take sixteen billion, and what do you get?  Another day shorter and lighter in debt — or so the Post Office hopes.  The USPS went into the red in 2012 by an astounding $16 billion, and needs to find ways to cut costs.  CBS News reports this morning that they will trim one-sixth of their deliveries by ending 150 years of Saturday service for first-class mail.

Do you care that the US Postal Service will end Saturday mail delivery?  To cut costs, the US Postal Service has announced that it will end Saturday delivery of first-class mail beginning in August.  It will continue to deliver packages, and post offices that are open now will remain open and mail will be delivered to PO boxes.  Do you care that you will no longer receive home deliver on Saturdays?

Goodbye Saturday mail? Postal Service plans cuts.  The Postal Service said Wednesday [2/6/2013] that it plans to cut back to five-day-a-week deliveries for everything except packages to stem its financial losses in a world radically re-ordered by the Internet.

Cummings: Postal Service cuts would hurt minority groups, single mothers.  The U.S. Postal Service's decision to eliminate Saturday delivery could disproportionally hurt minority groups, according to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee.  "You're talking about just this reduction ... from six days to five days will cut anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 employees.  And with regard to Asian, African-Americans, and Hispanics, they comprise about 40 percent of the Postal Service employees," Cummings told Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC Friday night.

Quick!  What can we do for a diversion?
US Postal Service to launch fashion range.  The US Postal Service is to launch a clothing and accessories range just days after revealing it was ending Saturday deliveries in a bid to stem losses of $40m (£26.1m) a day.

Haute couture by the postman.  We first thought this was a dispatch from The Onion:  The U.S. Postal Service announced Tuesday [2/19/2013] that it will enhance its "cool" with the rollout of a line of apparel and accessories, targeting the young.  The Postal Service, near bankruptcy, expects young hipsters to show up, perhaps in flash mobs, to order the latest in government-issued fashion.  They can be the first on the block in a "Rain, Heat & Snow" brand shirt or jacket.

Dire Straits — USPS Floundering.  Those were the exact words of the United States Post Office's (USPS) Postmaster General (PMG) Patrick Donahoe earlier this week during a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  The hearing came just days after the USPS announced that it will move to terminate Saturday delivery of first class mail on August 5, 2013.

Congress Thwarts Post Office's Plan to Eliminate Saturday Delivery.  The Postal Service is an independent agency, which means it is not funded by tax dollars.  Instead, USPS functions like a business, making about $15 million in revenue each day on sales of postage, products, and services.  Congress does not allocate money to support the mail service, but still holds legislative control over it.

Saturday mail delivery should stay - U.S.  The U.S. Postal Service must deliver the mail six days a week, said Congress' watchdog arm in a Thursday [3/21/2013] legal opinion.  The legal opinion from the nonpartisan agency throws new questions on the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's plans to stop delivering first-class mail, but keep delivering packages and express mail on Saturdays.

Postal Service backs off plan to suspend Saturday delivery service.  The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday said it will delay a cost-cutting plan to end Saturday mail delivery, following congressional action that blocked the effort — as the agency suggested it might have to turn to rate increases and layoffs as an alternative.  In a tersely worded announcement, the agency's board of governors said it was "left no choice" but to delay the plan after Congress passed a temporary federal spending bill last month that stopped the plan.


Earlier:

50-Cent Stamp, Other Postal Changes Coming.  The United States Postal Service may raise the price of first class postage to 50 cents.  The U.S. Post Office, facing financial losses of up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015, wants to charge more for postage, more for services, and to suspend Saturday delivery.  The 50-cent stamp would represent an 11 percent increase in postal rates.

Postal Service seeks 50-cent stamps.  A nickel boost in the first-class stamp price to 50 cents is part of the U.S. Postal Service's latest plan to stop bleeding red ink.  The Postal Service released the 5-year business plan to Congress late Thursday in part to push Congress to pass legislation to help them get through ongoing financial woes.

Postal Service seeks 50-cent stamp prices.  Mired in red ink, the U.S. Postal Service is warning it will lose as much as $18.2 billion a year by 2015 unless Congress grants it new leeway to eliminate Saturday delivery, slow first-class mail by one day and raise the price of a postage stamp by as much as 5 cents.

Postal Service Seeks 50-Cent Stamps to Prevent 'Taxpayer Burden'.  The U.S. Postal Service wants Congress to help it raise the price of a first-class stamp to 50 cents, an 11 percent increase, as part of its strategy to avoid annual losses as high as $18.2 billion by 2015.

Postal Service says stamp prices are going up.  Stamp prices are going up by 1 cent starting in January, the U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday [10/18/2011].  The cost of a first-class stamp — also known as a Forever Stamp — will climb to 45 cents on Jan. 22, the first price increase in more than 2½ years, USPS said.  The cost of sending magazines, standard mail and some package services will also rise, but prices for Express Mail and Priority Mail will stay the same.

US Postal Service to Increase Stamp Prices in 2012.  The US Postal Service (USPS) announced Tuesday it will increase postal stamp prices by one cent, starting in 2012.  The cost of a first-class stamp will rise to 45 cents starting Jan. 22, marking the cash-strapped agency's first price hike since May 2009.

U.S. Postal Service lifts stamp price by 1 cent.  The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service announced on Tuesday a one-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter, starting in January.  The new prices lift the cost of a first-class stamp to 45 cents starting on January 22, 2012, the first increase in more than two years.

Post office announces 1-cent increase in first-class stamp, other rate increases.  The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service announced Tuesday that it will increase postage rates on Jan. 22, including a 1-cent increase in the cost of first-class mail, to 45 cents.

Prior increases:

USPS raises price of stamps.  The U.S. Postal service is now charging Americans a penny more for stamps and postcard mailings.  The price of a first-class stamp for domestic mail rose Sunday [1/27/2012] from 45 cents to 46 cents, while postcards cost 33 cents to send.

U.S. Postal Service Announces New Prices and Services for 2013.  Beginning early next year, the Postal Service will introduce a First-Class Mail Global Forever Stamp.  The new stamp will allow customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10, and is among new mailing and shipping services filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission today [10/11/2012].

USPS announces postal rate increases for 2013.  The U.S. Postal Service will increase postal rates effective Jan. 27 by an average 2.57%.  First-class postage will increase by one cent, to 46 cents; standard mail of various sorts and sizes — used most often by commercial mailers — will see a 2.72% average increase.

Postage rates to cost a penny more in 2013.  In 2013, sending a letter will cost an additional cent as postage rates are set to increase on Jan. 27, according to the U.S. Postal Service.  The increase will make first-class mail postage cost 46 cents, the Associated Press said.  The Postal Service will also begin a new global "forever" stamp, the AP said, which will let customers send letters first-class to anywhere in the world for a flat rate of $1.10.

Mailing a letter to cost a penny more in 2013.  The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service said Thursday [10/11/2012] that it will raise postage rates on Jan. 27, including a 1-cent increase in the cost of first-class mail to 46 cents.

Postal rates going up, but not for basic letters.  The basic [44¢] rate is for the first ounce, and the price for each extra ounce will rise from 17 cents to 20 cents.

Postal Service close to going broke.  Americans can still send and receive mail, but the U.S. Postal Service may not have much left in the bank after this week, as it's set to announce billions of dollars in losses as early as Thursday [9/30/2010].  It's also waiting for postal regulators to announce Thursday whether they approve of a proposed 5.6 percent postage-rate increase, to start in January.

Request denied!
Postal Service Denied 2 Cent Rate Hike.  Burdened by a weak economy and the use of electronic communications, the Postal Service is studying options to keep itself viable after its request for a 2 cent increase in rates was denied.

Postal Service Rate Increase Denied.  The panel that regulates the U.S. Postal service denied a proposal to increase postage rates Thursday [9/30/2010], blaming the agency's business model for its recent financial hardships.  In a news conference the Postal Regulatory Commission said the Postal Service had failed to justify the requested 5.6 percent increase.

Postal rate hike request denied.  Postal regulators Thursday [9/30/2010] denied requests by the U.S. Postal Service to raise postage rates in January beyond the rate of inflation, ruling that the mail agency's recent financial woes were caused by a flawed business model and not the recent recession.

Postal Rate Increase Denied.  No postage rate increase this coming January.  This is good news for online sellers and presumably a nightmare for the USPS which needs to find $5.5 billion this year as they are required by law to pre-fund retiree health benefits.

Post office trying again to raise price of stamps.  The post office is trying again to get a rate increase next year.

U.S. Postal Service fights once more for rate hikes.  The U.S. Postal Service has appealed a recent decision by The Postal Regulatory Commission to reject proposed postal rate hikes.  In a statement, the U.S. Postal Service says it is requesting a review of the commission's interpretation of the law that governs how prices are set and is asking again for permission to increase rates.

Post Office trying to get postage rate increase again.  The post office is trying again to get a rate increase.  The agency announced Friday that it is appealing the Postal Regulatory Commission's rejection of its requested increase.  The post office had asked for a 2 cent increase in January in the price of first class stamps, which now cost 44 cents.

Postage rates may still go up.  The price of postage stamps may still increase to 46 cents next year.  The U.S. Postal Service plans to appeal a regulator's decision to deny permission to raise rates by 2 cents.  The Postal Service will appeal the Sept. 30 ruling by the Postal Regulatory Commission to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, asking the court to review the regulator's interpretation of the 2006 postal reform act.

Postmaster General Recommends Cutting Back Mail Delivery to Five Days.  Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday [1/28/2009], in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.  If the change happens, that doesn't necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery.  Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.

Postmaster General:  Mail days may need to be cut.  Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday [1/28/2009], in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.

The Editor states the obvious...
Reduced service for the same price is the same as a price increase.

Postmaster's pay to be probed.  Congress will hold a hearing next month into why Postmaster General John E. Potter has gotten a nearly 40 percent pay raise since 2006 and was awarded a six-figure incentive bonus last year, even as the U.S. Postal Service faces a multibillion-dollar shortfall that threatens a day of mail delivery.

Collectors Discover Flag Stamp Has 14 Stripes.  When an astute stamp collector recently discovered that one of the Old Glorys in the U.S. Postal Service's "Flags 24/7" series appears to have 14 stripes, it was bound to send a wave of excitement through the philatelic community.  "Is there any icon better-known to Americans than their own flag?" said Fred Baumann, a spokesman for the American Philatelic Society.  "This is something somebody should have caught along the way."

Post Service slashes 25,000 jobs this year.  The U.S. Postal Service has slashed 25,000 jobs this year as it struggles to reduce a massive budget deficit.  Postmaster General John Potter said Monday that agency employment is below 635,000, down from about 800,000 in 1999.  Thousands of carrier routes have also been eliminated as mail volume declines.

Idaho Courier Survives Postal Cost-Cutting.  When the Postal Service began scouring the map to help close a potential $6.5 billion budget deficit, an auditor's eye settled on central Idaho.  The agency had been spending $46,000 a year for a challenging small-plane route that served about 20 addresses secluded in the roadless wilderness of the northern Rocky Mountains.

Postage rates go up Sunday, except for basic first-class letters.  The unchanged 44-cent rate still covers the first ounce of a letter, but each additional ounce will cost 20 cents, up from 17 cents currently.

Stamp prices going up again -- 46-cent rate asked.  Buy those Forever stamps now.

Postage stamp price hike expected.  Prepare to pay more to send mail.  The U.S. Postal Service is requesting to increase the price of a stamp by two cents to 46 cents.  But that's not the only item that could be getting more expensive.  Postal officials announced a wide-ranging series of proposed price increases Tuesday [7/6/2010].

Stamp prices going up 2 cents to 44 cents in May.  The post office will get an extra 2 cents worth when you mail a letter starting in May.  The U.S. Postal Service announced today that the price of a first-class stamp will rise to 44 cents on May 11.  That gives plenty of time to stock up on Forever Stamps, which will continue to sell at the current 42-cent rate until the increase occurs.  They will remain valid in the future regardless of rate hikes.

Stamps for U.S. letters to rise to 44 cents in May.  The price of a one-ounce first-class stamp will rise to 44 cents on May 11, the U.S. Postal Service said on Tuesday [2/10/2009].

Editor's note:
Some news items on the day of the announcement included glaring errors, as shown below:

Postage Rates Go Up on May 1 (sic).  The price of a first-class stamp will go up 2 cents to 44 cents on May 1, (sic) 2009, the Postal Service announced.  Prices for other mailing services — Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services (including Parcel Post), and Extra Services — will also change.

USPS Jacks Up Price of First-Class Mail Stamps.  The United States Postal service announced price hikes for mailing services today, including a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail stamp.  Those stamps will be 44 cents with the price increase.  The changes will go into effect on May 11, which is in line with the annual review of postal mailing prices that are adjusted each may. (sic)

As postage hike looms, the thrifty are buying Forever stamp.  Between the economy and the rising cost of postage, people are looking for ways to cut corners, and that has resulted in an increase of sales of the post office's Forever stamp.

New Forever stamp design Forever stamp
Forever Stamp Fact Sheet.

Current prices for domestic and international services.

Note:  Links on this web site are provided as a public service.
This web site does not accept paid advertising.

In 2007 this was big news:
USPS Announces The "Forever" Stamp:  Is It Worth Your $0.39?  Yesterday [2/26/2007], the United States Postal Service announced the introduction of a "forever" postage stamp.  Here's how it works:  whenever you buy a first class postage stamp, it will no longer be marked with a cash denomination on it like current stamps are.  Instead, it will merely say "First Class" on it.  Once you buy it, you can use it at any point in the future.

Think twice before hoarding 'forever' stamps you might never use.  The stamps are called "forever" because they will be good for any future single-piece first-class envelope weighing an ounce or less, no matter how prices might change in the future.

Additional information — Some of which is now outdated:

2-cent increase in stamp prices urged.  A postal regulatory commission recommended a 2-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter today and urged the Post Office to introduce a "forever" stamp valid for first-class postage even when rates rise.  The recommendation to increase postage to 41 cents was a penny less than the postal service had requested.

PRC Issues Recommendations on the Postal Rate Case.  On Feb. 26 the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued its recommendations on the rate case filed by the U.S. Postal Service last May.  For the most part, the PRC agreed with the changes proposed in the case, though it did recommend raising the cost of a first-class stamp by two cents, to $0.41, rather than three cents.


Other news, notes and commentary

According to the access logs here at akdart.com, many people are linking to this page (that's good!) and some are using it as an educational tool in schools, which is wonderful.  This chart seems to be an easy way to show kids what inflation does to the value of a dollar.  If you would like to dig deeper, compare these postage prices to the US Consumer Price Index from 1913 to today.

Thanks to a reader named Marilyn who sent in this information:

"According to 'The Source -- A Guidebook of American Genealogy' by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, there are postcard postage rates earlier than 1926.  In their 1997 edition, page 13:  'Penny postcards were manufactured after 1898, when postal regulations established the penny postcard rate, while cards requiring two cents of postage date from 1873 to 1898.'  My postcards have 1¢ stamps on them up through 1928."  She also says postcards have 2¢ stamps on them beginning in 1929.

This seems to contradict the information on the Postal Rate Commission's web page, so I have included only the 1898 date in the table above.

Thanks also to Jim Cropper, evidently quite a stamp collector, who referred me to the USPS Rate Case filings, which show the Proposed Price Adjustments for Spring 2007, and the USPS Postal Bulletin, available cover-to-cover in Adobe PDF format bi-weekly.



Updated 2/29/2008:

Today I received an informative email from Lewis Bussey, president of the United Postal Stationery Society.  Since he is evidently an authority on postal rate history, and since there is plenty of room on this page, I'll include his comments verbatim:

Dear Mr. Dart,

The domestic post card was authorized to be mailed at the same rate as government postal cards on July 1, 1898.  Post cards were of course available well before 1898, but previously they were charged the higher letter rate, not a flat 2¢.  This 1898 1¢ card rate continued until November 2, 1917 (the "war tax" increase) when the rate was effectively increased to 2¢.  On July 1, 1919, the rate was reduced back to 1¢.

However on April 15, 1925, the "postal" card rate stayed 1¢ and the "post" card rate increased to 2¢.  This condition continued until July 10, 1928, when both "postal" and "post" card were again charged 1¢.  On January 2, 1952, the card rate went to 2¢ and has been increasing every since (except as you note from September 14, 1975 to December 31, 1975 when the rate actually decreased from 8¢ to 7¢).

Most of the card rates (domestic including charges for pre-sorting and automation, and also international rates) are tabulated in the United Postal Stationery Society's 2005 United States Postal Card Catalog.

Best Regards-
Lewis Bussey,
President, UPSS


Thank you, Mr. Bussey!



Updated 9/26/2008:

Doug Hardt writes,

The "Each Additional Ounce" column is somewhat misleading in that letters are limited to 3½ ounces or less.  Ounces 2 and 3 each cost 17 cents but anything over 3 up to 3½ is another 17 cents. [Source]


Thanks, Doug!



Coin-operated stamp machines are being eliminated

Thieves Target Postal Stamp Machines.  You may have noticed easy access to stamps missing from your neighborhood postal station.  That's because crooks have turned their attention to breaking into stamp vending machines for the cash inside.

Post Office to Eliminate Stamp Machines.  Postage stamps can be purchased by mail, at the supermarket, even from many bank cash machines.  But there's one place you won't be able to get them in a few years … vending machines at the post office.  The U.S. Postal Service plans to eliminate its 23,000 vending machines by 2010, the agency said in a recent internal memo.

U.S. Postal Service removing stamp machines.  [Postmaster Rusty] Field said the Carroll Reece station on North State of Franklin Road does have an automated postal center, but it requires the use of a credit or debit card.  U.S. currency won't do at the post office automated center.  With plastic a person can also buy stamps online or over the telephone, and those who don't have anything in their wallet but cash can still wait in line and buy stamps from a postal clerk.

Stamp machines are convenient.  Many of us have had the experience:  We have a piece of mail that needs to go out immediately, so we go to the post office after normal operating hours.  Mail still can be deposited in the outer lobby — and, thank heaven, there's a machine available to sell us a stamp.  Not anymore.  The U.S. Postal Service is removing all stamp vending machines.  They're getting old and it is difficult to keep them in operation, say officials.

Stamp machines sent packing.  Postmaster Donald Hopper said the U.S. Postal Service is removing 23,000 machines nationwide by 2010.  Hopper said the postal service no longer makes new machines and maintenance costs are too high to keep them.  Local postal employee Brian Moore, who's in charge of maintaining the machines, said they account for approximately 600 transactions per week.

Postal Service removing all stamp machines.  Need stamps for those holiday cards?  Don't go to the post office, unless you're prepared to stand in line or pay with a credit card.  Stamp vending machines, where customers can buy a single 41-cent stamp or a book of stamps with coins or dollar bills, are on their way out.

The Editor says...
That will make the long lines at the window just a little longer.



(Note:  The most recent postal service news is at the bottom of the page.)

Postal News dot com.  The daily news digest of the postal world.

Postage rates are headed up, and in rural Alaska, it matters.  Postal rates are scheduled to rise nationwide in May, and that means an increase in the cost of shipping rates for bypass mail services to rural Alaska.  Postal officials say the cost of bypass mail shipping could see a 6 percent to 50 percent increase, depending on where the mail is shipped from — and where it's going.

Postal Worker Gets 5 Months for Taking Kids' Cash.  A Northern California postal worker has been sentenced to five months in federal prison for stealing money from children's birthday cards.  Twenty-nine-year-old Dean Hudson, of East Linda, was ordered to serve five months of home detention after his release from prison.  He also must pay nearly $3,000 in restitution.

Postal Worker Stole 3,000 Netflix DVDs.  A former postal service employee has pleaded guilty to stealing more than 3,000 DVDs that moved through a western Massachusetts post office.  Myles Weathers, formerly of Springfield, took DVDs that were mailed by Netflix to customers for a year beginning in January 2007.

Editor's note:
Earlier versions of this story indicated that the postal worker had stolen 30,000 DVDs, but a correction was published soon afterward.

Bend postal worker admits $156,000 embezzlement.  June Marie Newburn, 50, of Joseph, Ore., appeared in United States District Court in Eugene Tuesday [9/15/2009] and pled guilty to one count of theft of government property.  Newburn was a U.S. Postal Service Sales and Service Associate in Bend at the end of her 23-year career as a postal employee.

Postal Service Employees Owed $300M in Taxes, IRS Data Shows.  The U.S. Postal Service has more tax delinquents in its ranks than any other federal agency or department, according to Internal Revenue Service data.

Report finds 'imprudent spending' at Postal Service.  The U.S. Postal Service spent more than $792,000 "without justification" on meals and events in one five-month period even as it reported losing $3.8 billion this year, the agency's inspector general says in a report.  Employees spent $792,022 on meals and external events "without justification for food purchases, purchased alcohol without officer approval and exceeded the dollar limit for meals," the report says.

U.S. Postal Service Faces $7 Billion Net Loss in 2009.  The U.S Postal Service faces a net loss of $7 billion in fiscal year 2009 even if it succeeds in cutting its costs by $6 billion, according to testimony provided to a Senate subcommittee last week by the Government Accountability Office.  The Postal Service is expected to end the year with $10.2 billion in outstanding debt.  Meanwhile, USPS faces continuing high overhead in the form of employee wages and benefits fixed by collective bargaining agreements, as well as declining use of the service by its customers.

Post Office to get hit with "high risk" rating as business keeps falling.  The United States Postal Service will get some bad but unsurprising news today [7/28/2009].  The Government Accountability Office is expected to add it to its list of "high risk" government operations.  The GAO publishes a biennial list of high risk agencies, which they define as having "significant management challenges."

GAO:  Postal Service in financial disarray.  The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in financial disarray, with plummeting levels of mail being sent and heathcare costs for retirees increasing, according to a report released Thursday [8/6/2009] by an investigative arm of Congress.  The Government Accountability Office report comes on the heels of the GAO's decision to place the Postal Service on its high-risk list because the agency "has not been able to cut costs fast enough to offset the accelerated decline in mail volume and revenue."

Can the Postal Service be Saved?  It's been an ugly few years for the United States Postal Service.  The quasi-government agency announced this week that it lost $3.8 billion in the most recent fiscal year, which ended September 30th.  It also delivered less mail — 26 billion fewer pieces less, a nearly 13 percent drop from the previous year.  The bad news follows losses totaling $7.8 billion in 2007 and 2008.

Neighborhood mailboxes being stamped out.  If you're suddenly having trouble finding a neighborhood mailbox, you've got lots of company.  In recent weeks, one-quarter of the 3,700 collection boxes in the Los Angeles area have been removed, said Joseph L. Harrison, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service's Los Angeles district.

So Long, Snail Shells.  For 43 years, in rain and shine, through the raising of seven children, the friendly box they could see through their front window's lace curtains was always there.  Until, one day at lunchtime a week or so ago, it wasn't.  [Andrew] Yankanich, 82, watched as postal workers hacked at the rusted bolts and hauled the box away for good.

Maine town fights phase-out of curbside mailbox.  The folks of Otisfield are so fond of their lone public mailbox that they blocked it with a snowplow and a backhoe to prevent the Postal Service from taking it away in the gloom of night.

Take a Walk Through this Post Office.  People who fear ObamaCare compare it to the US Postal Service.  And so does the president!  Allow me to walk the president through my post office, on West 83rd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam.  What you'll notice first, Mr. President is:  long lines, always.  Doesn't matter if it's rush hour or the quietest part of the afternoon, there is always a lengthy wait to get to one of the windows.  The lines have gotten even longer lately because a couple of years ago the two machines selling stamps and other items were removed.  I was stunned.  When was the last time you saw something de-automated?

The Editor says...
Maybe they're called "Forever stamps" because that's about how long you have to stand in line to get them.

Despite staff and spending cuts, post office lost $3.8 billion last year.  The Postal Service reported a loss of $3.8 billion last year, despite a reduction of 40,000 full-time positions and other cost-cutting measures.

Postal Service Reducing Workforce, Offices as Mail Volume Falls.  The U.S. Postal Service said it will offer early retirement to about 150,000 workers, close administrative offices and eliminate more than 3,000 jobs to help resolve a financial crisis as the volume of mail declines.  Stamped mail is down to 1964 levels, officials said, contributing to a deficit that reached $2.8 billion in 2008 and is likely to be larger this year.

Why the Post Office will never make money:  Could Federal Express or UPS survive, let alone make a profit, if they had politicians breathing down their necks regarding essential business decisions?  Could any private business survive in a competitive marketplace under these circumstances?  The likely answer is no.

Not going postal.  Last-minute shoppers, beware.  If you are running behind in mailing Christmas gifts to loved ones, and you absolutely, positively need your packages to arrive on time, it's safest to avoid the post office.  The U.S. Postal Service is so slow that even a fruit cake could decompose before making it to its intended recipient.

U.S. Postal Offering to Pay Workers to Leave, Retire.  The U.S. Postal Service said it reached agreement with two unions to offer as many as 30,000 employees incentives to resign or retire by the end of next month in a plan that may save $500 million.

U.S. Postal Service offers buyouts to 30,000 workers.  The U.S. Postal Service will offer buyouts to 30,000 workers in hopes of saving $500 million in costs next year, the agency reported Tuesday [8/25/2009].  According to a news release, the USPS negotiated an agreement with two of its employee unions to offer select employees a financial incentive to retire or resign before the end of this fiscal year.

Congress [and] what it did to the post office.  The present dilemma of the Postal Service, which includes closing post offices and eliminating Saturday delivery, is a prime example of how Congress fixes problems.  In 1992, the Postal Service was facing a $1 billion deficit that would have resulted in a rate increase above the rate of inflation.  As a result, Congress grilled the postmaster general and told him to fix it without closing any post offices or affecting service.

The Junk's in the Mail.  The number of pieces of first-class mail is steadily dropping, from 98 billion pieces in 2004 to 96 billion pieces in 2007.  Faced with a $1 billion operating deficit this year — the largest since 1995 — the Postal Service is feeling the pinch.  Now, one of the most lucrative sources of postal income, junk mail, is also under siege.

Balanced Postal Reform:  The Postal Service has little oversight, and virtually no accountability.  It is an independent federal agency with commercial responsibilities.  It has an annual budget of over $68 billion handling over 200 billion pieces of mail, yet it does not have to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, comply with the Federal Trade Commission's truth-in-advertising rules, nor adhere to local government zoning and traffic regulations.  It defines the scope of its own monopoly and, in some respects, regulates its competitors.

Postal Debt Soars to $13 Billion, Stamp Prices Continue to Climb:  New poll shows the public wants a postal audit before stamp prices rise again.  CAGW Unveils "Commemorative Stamps" Asking, "Where's Our Money Going?"

The Mail Monopoly:  The big problem with the U.S. Postal Service is that it is a monopoly and that the government keeps it a monopoly by law.

Postal Service fixes long waits by removing clocks.  The missing clock didn't stop postal customer Al Cunningham from noticing the amount of time spent waiting for service.  "It's always long here," said Cunningham, 49, an insurance adjuster and former postal employee who was standing in line at the Watson Post Office in Fort Worth.

Atheist Group Blasts Postal Service for Mother Teresa Stamp.  An atheist organization is blasting the U.S. Postal Service for its plan to honor Mother Teresa with a commemorative stamp, saying it violates postal regulations against honoring "individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings."

The Editor asks...
Did they ever complain about stamps honoring Reverend Martin Luther King?

The Stalinist and the Stamp:  Why is the Postal Service honoring a commie?  If ever a stamp cried out for cancellation, it is this one.

Graphic 'borrowed' from WorldMag dot com
Stamp Out the Rate Hikes.  Postal regulators have accepted a proposal from media giant Time Warner that would stifle small and independent publishers in America.  The plan unfairly burdens smaller publishers with higher postage rates while locking in special privileges for bigger media companies.

Editor's note:
If you click on this graphic, you will be taken to a web page about resisting postage rate increases.  If you explore the rest of their web site, you will see that they disagree with me about everything else.  Even so, I'm willing to assist them on this one issue.  As you may know, there is no paid advertising on akdart.com.  Whenever you see a graphic like this, and it links to an external site, it is provided as a public service.

Book:  The Last Monopoly:  Privatizing the Postal Service for the Information Age:  edited by Edward L. Hudgins, Washington, D.C.:  Cato Institute, 1996, 138 pp.  "The check is in the mail" was once an excuse you gave your creditors when your bill was past due.  In recent years, however, it's been more likely than ever to be the truth.  In an age where an hour can mean the difference between a closed deal and a closed door, what once may have been an acceptable delivery time for the post office just won't cut it anymore.

U.S. Postal Service Seeks 5-day Delivery.  The U.S. Postal Service will move this month toward reducing mail delivery from six days a week to five, a change Postmaster General John Potter has said is critical to reducing its massive debt.  Potter said Monday [3/1/2010] he'll submit a formal request by the end of this month to the Postal Regulatory Commission, which must issue an advisory opinion on any change in mail service that would have national impact.

Postal Service Urged to Weigh Three-Days-a-Week Mail.  The U.S. Postal Service, facing a $238 billion budget deficit by 2020, should consider cutting delivery to as few as three days a week as the agency attempts to pare costs, a consulting firm said.

Postal service chief:  Our business model as outdated as the newspaper industry's.  The head of the U.S. Postal Service said Thursday [3/11/2010] that his organization's business model is as outdated as the newspaper industry's.  John Potter, United States Postmaster General, cited changes in technology and channels of communication as justification for a revamp of the Postal Service's delivery schedule and pricing system.

The U.S. Postal Service, being immune to risk, cannot go out of business.
What Do Detroit, the Postal Service, and Health Care Reform Have in Common?  That the U.S. Postal Service is swimming in red ink isn't news.  The nation's postal service, despite its first-class mail monopoly, swims in red ink a lot.  The important news to Americans as they follow Washington's three-ring health care circus is that U.S. Postmaster General Joe E. Potter wants to drop Saturday mail delivery as a cost-cutting measure.

Postal Service Moves Toward Five-Day Delivery.  The Postal Service took the first formal step Wednesday [3/24/2010] toward cutting mail delivery to five days a week.

Cancel the post office.  The postman won't even ring once on weekends.  In a desperate attempt to trim costs, the U.S. Postal Service is cutting off your Saturday service.  This move is too little, too late for one of the federal government's most bloated and incompetent bureaucracies.  Yesterday [3/30/2010], the Postal Service formally asked federal regulators for permission to move to a five-day delivery schedule.

What Gov't Can't Do:  The post office, which has a government-protected monopoly on first-class mail delivery, could lose at least $238 billion over the next decade.  This is a government agency — its claims of independence are not believable — that has no competitors, has raked in $27 billion in taxpayer's money since 1970, is exempt from most taxes and can borrow from the U.S. Treasury at rates below market value.  Yet, it cannot break even, much less make a profit.  There's something deeply amiss with how the USPS does business.

Sinking Ship:  The U.S. Postal Service.  The Government Accountability Office issued a rather bleak report on the state of the U.S. Postal Service this week.  The opening sentence states, "USPS's business model is not viable," and from there the picture only gets worse.  The USPS, although no longer officially a government agency, is a case study of the biggest problems with government programs and government agencies.

Unions Killing U.S. Post Office.  Union contracts are killing the U.S. Post Office, making it uncompetitive and driving costs through the roof according to the Government Accountability Office.  The U.S. Post Office lost $12 billion between 2007 and 2009 and has reached its borrowing limit of $15 billion already.

U.S. Postal Service Facing 'Major Financial Crisis,' Report Says.  Failure to achieve a "major restructuring" of the U.S. Postal Service "will increase the risk that taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury will have to provide financial relief," says a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.

Wrinkles found in Postal Service pact.  When the U.S. Postal Service's top marketing officer agreed to hire Goldman Sachs nearly two years ago without a written contract, top executives inside postal headquarters scrambled to make the unauthorized deal square with postal procurement rules.  But the no-bid contract they eventually awarded to Goldman Sachs was backdated and was for the wrong kinds of services...

USPS posts $3.5 billion loss as mail volume plunges.  The U.S. Postal Service reported a $3.5 billion loss in its most recent quarter Thursday [8/5/2010], as mail volume plummets and retiree health care costs mount.

The Rogues' Gallery Of Government.  Over the long haul, Social Security is liable for paying out $7.9 trillion more in benefits than it will receive in tax revenues.  While digesting that grim news, don't forget Thursday's report that the U.S. Postal Service lost $3.5 billion for the quarter that ended June 30.  Over the same quarter last year, the post office lost only $2.4 billion.  Three-fourths of the way through its current fiscal year, losses at the Postal Service have totaled $5.4 billion.  The post office's future is as dim, if not dimmer, than its past.

3,000 postal workers march to protest cost-cutting moves.  Wearing blue shirts, thousands of American Postal Workers Union members packed Campus Martius in downtown Detroit on Tuesday [8/24/2010] to protest the U.S. Postal Service's proposal that Congress agree to eliminate Saturday mail service next year as a cost-cutting move.

The Perpetual Post Office.  The Postal Service must be immortal; it's a government program, though one in ill-fitting sheep's clothing like Fannie Mae's before its camouflage was washed off by the bailout.  The Service is also, like Fannie Mae, dreadfully managed; any private sector CEO with that loss history would be unemployable anywhere but Congress.  But the Service lurches on, relying on its monopoly to raise postage whenever the union isn't happy with its wages.

Audit:  Ex-Postal Service workers return as private contractors, make more money.  Who says you can't go back?  Apparently you can at the U.S. Postal Service.  Dozens of former top executives and hundreds of former employees have returned to the agency in recent years as private contractors, sometimes making double the salaries they made as full-time workers, according to one of three watchdog audits released late last week.

Postal Service expects $6 billion year-end loss as mail volume continues decline.  Check your mailbox.  If the U.S. Postal Service has its way, this could be one of the last Saturdays you receive mail.  The mail agency is determined to end six-day mail deliveries and close unprofitable post offices despite an expected $6 billion in losses for the fiscal year that ended Thursday [9/30/2010].

Postal Service reports $8 billion in losses.  The U.S. Postal Service on Friday reported more than $8 billion in losses for the 2010 fiscal year while noting that mail volume continues to drop.  The postal service's chief financial officer, Joe Corbett, said despite $9 billion in cost savings over the past two years and the elimination of more than 100,000 jobs, fundamental changes are needed in how the mail system works.

U.S. Postal Service Lost Record $8.5 Billion in 2010.  The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) accrued a record loss of $8.5 billion in fiscal year 2010, up $4.7 billion from 2009, highlighting financial pressures that are not expected to improve in 2011 or in the "foreseeable future," according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Postal workers caught dumping mail, stealing money.  You ever had one of those days when you want to throw your work in the trash?  At least two postal letter carriers did it — and got caught.  Most of the nation's almost 195,000 letter carriers this year swiftly completed their appointed rounds, but a few bad actors discarded mail or stole thousands of dollars of tax refunds and medication.

90-Year-Old Post Office Workers Still Getting Workers Comp?  Years after most Americans retire, in fact years after the federal retirement age of 68, more than 100 U.S. Postal Workers in their 90s are still getting 75 percent of their salaries (tax free, yet) of federal workers compensation payments instead of having been graduated to the cheaper retirement payments at 60 percent of their salaries.

Reagan stamp
Postage stamp to honor Reagan.  If it was "morning in America" for former President Ronald Reagan, a commemorative postage stamp due in February to mark the Gipper's birth centennial will forever view the sunrise.  The commemorative stamp, whose design was unveiled Monday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., will always be valid for a 1-ounce first-class letter, the U.S. Postal Service confirmed.  It will be released officially at the library on Feb. 10, four days after the 100th anniversary of Reagan's birth.

Momentum builds for Harvey Milk stamp.  An advisory panel tasked with determining whom, or what, to commemorate with U.S. postage stamps is considering the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk for such an honor, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.

The Proposed Harvey Milk Stamp — and Some Others.  The Postal Service has created a stamp of famous photo of three firefighters raising a flag at Ground Zero, yet why not more?  They are constantly looking for new design ideas that appeal to people.  How about stamps commemorating the heroism of the military in rescuing people at the Pentagon attack site on 9/11?  And how about a stamp commemorating Todd Beamer, who lead the small group — including a gay man — that overpowered the hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93 over the skies of Pennsylvania, thwarting an airborne attack on the Capitol or the White House?

Why the American Economy Is Broken:  [Scroll down]  The US Postal Service today [1/9/2011] announced they are only going to sell forever stamps, which don't have a value printed on them.  Immediately I know this is a scam -- the post office is going to lose a fortune because they are selling all these stamps, collecting all this revenue, and spending it now on current expenditures like salaries and rent and their gasoline costs.  But their costs are going up because of inflation, and they are going to have to deliver all this mail and collect no money.

Post Office Bait and Switch:  A new initiative by the U.S Postal Service that appears on the surface to be a good deal for customers is in fact setting the stage for bankruptcy and a future bailout of the Post Office with taxpayer money.  This week, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue plans to announce that all future stamps sales will be so-called "forever stamps," which can still be used even if postage rates go up.  Anyone who has had to hunt around for 1 or 2 cent stamps to add to their old stamps after an increase may consider this good news.  However, consider the implications of this action.

USPS Forever Stamps Tell Us Much.  Over the past fifty years, the USPS has raised the rates on first class postage 20 times.  During that time the stamp prices have gone up more than 1,100%.  Given the increasing frequency of rate hikes (three in the last four years) the Post Office claims it made the move to forever stamps to save money on printing costs and to increase customer convenience.  The public seems to appreciate the product and has snapped up a staggering 28 billion forever stamps since they became available in 2007.  But the real reason behind the permanent switch is that it allows the Post Office to hide its insolvency behind phony accounting numbers, setting itself up for a massive taxpayer financed bailout in the not too distant future.

Postal workers caught dumping mail, stealing money.  You ever had one of those days when you want to throw your work in the trash?  At least two postal letter carriers did it -- and got caught.  Most of the nation's almost 195,000 letter carriers this year swiftly completed their appointed rounds, but a few bad actors discarded mail or stole thousands of dollars of tax refunds and medication.

Postal Service Eyes Closing Thousands of Post Offices.  The U.S. Postal Service plays two roles in America:  an agency that keeps rural areas linked to the rest of the nation, and one that loses a lot of money.  Now, with the red ink showing no sign of stopping, the postal service is hoping to ramp up a cost-cutting program that is already eliciting yelps of pain around the country.

Adapting the Postal Service to prosper in the digital age.  Postal workers overcome all sorts of adversity to deliver the mail:  "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."  But what about the Internet?  The United States Postal Service is having something of an identity crisis as it tries to figure out how to survive in a digital age of dropping mail volume and battle its way out of an $8.5 billion loss this year.

Post office should be about providing a service.  Maybe there was a time when the government needed to provide mail service, and maybe there was even a time when they were good at it.  But that time has long since passed.  Companies such as FedEx or UPS are far more reliable than the US Postal Service these days, providing better service, and with the added bonus of not costing the taxpayer a dime.  Yet these companies are constrained in how they operate their businesses.  Current law makes it a crime for any organization that is not the US Postal Service to ship mail.

Another bailout on the way — Postal Service next in line.  It won't be a large amount — comparatively speaking.  It will be hundreds of millions instead of billions.  But that doesn't alter the fact that we have to figure out what to do about mail delivery in the 21st century.  Needless to say, much of the shortfall for the Postal Service is in paying out massive pensions and health care benefits to their retirees — sort of a mini-GM without the kewl cars.  Private industry pensions are also in trouble, and that problem may also end up at Congress's doorstep thanks to ERISA.

Postal Service warns of default as losses mount.  The U.S. Postal Service warned Wednesday [2/9/2011] that it may default on some of its financial obligations later this year after reporting yet another quarterly loss.  The USPS, a self-supporting government agency that receives no tax dollars, said it suffered a loss of $329 million in the first quarter of federal fiscal year 2011.  That compared with a loss of $297 million a year earlier.

Report: Postal workers expensed private travel and 'adult entertainment'.  If the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service wants to save money it should ensure that its workers aren't booking pricey hotel rooms and airplane tickets or buying pornography, according to a new watchdog report.  Over a two-year period, some postal workers used credit cards meant for travel and lodging expenses to buy family members flights to Spain and Italy, purchase Apple computers and make more than 50 purchases at "adult entertainment" stores.

USPS gets short-term relief, but some call it a bailout.  The United States Postal Service has fallen on tough times, struggling to find both revenue and relevance in the digital age.  President Obama's 2012 budget, released Monday [2/14/2011], attempts to help it accomplish the first of those, providing it with a total of $4 billion of "temporary financial relief" this year.

Regulators work overtime on USPS bid to drop Saturday delivery.  Regulators in the US are set to provide an advisory opinion to Congress "shortly" concerning proposals by the US Postal Service to move to a five-day delivery week.  The chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, Ruth Goldway, said today [3/2/2011] that her team had been "working overtime to resolve complex and technical policy aspects" of the USPS request to drop Saturday deliveries.

USPS exploring possibilities of digital postal mail.  The US Postal Service is now exploring possible opportunities for getting into digital forms of communications, including hybrid or digital postal mail services.  Two reports came out last month recommending that the USPS should look into opportunities for revenues in new electronic forms of communication, one from the USPS inspector general and one from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Postal Service mulls dropping Saturday delivery.  The post office is renewing its drive to drop Saturday delivery — and plans a rate increase — in an effort to fend off a projected $7 billion loss this year.

US Postal Service Wants to Cancel Saturday Deliveries to Balance Budget.  The US Postal Service will be unable to pay two major bills later this year unless Congress changes the law to eliminate Saturday mail deliveries, MarketWatch reported Thursday [3/3/2011].

It's Not Saturday Delivery That's Hurting the Post Office.  Facing mounting debt and a projected loss this year of $7 billion, U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter said Tuesday morning [3/1/2011] that mail delivery must be cut from six days to five for the U.S. Postal Service to survive.  But critics say eliminating Saturday deliveries won't be enough to cure what ails the Postal Service, and free-market advocates are renewing their calls to privatize the struggling government entity.

Postal Service, largest union reach new 4½ year deal.  The U.S. Postal Service and one of its largest labor unions have reached agreement on a new 4½-year contract that would give raises to about 205,000 workers but force them to pay more for their health insurance.  The tentative deal with the American Postal Workers Union would provide workers with a 3½ percent pay increase over the life of the contract, starting with a 1 percent raise in November 2012, the union said Monday [3/14/2011].  Postal clerks, mechanics, truck drivers and maintenance staff will vote in coming weeks on the contract, which would run through May 2015.

Post Office to Cut 7,500 Jobs.  Struggling with record losses, the United States Postal Service will cut 7,500 managers and close seven district offices, officials said.  The cuts, which include postmasters, supervisors and other administrators, will come as part of the agency's previously disclosed plan to close as many as 2,000 post offices and consolidate regional mail-processing centers over the next 12 months.

Five-day mail service wouldn't save much money after all.  The decision whether to cut back U.S. mail delivery to five from six days a week was complicated Thursday [3/24/2011] by a report that suggested the U.S. Postal Service had overstated the savings to be gained by the change.  The U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission on Thursday said it found only $1.7 billion in savings, compared to the Postal Service's estimate of $3.1 billion.

Issa set to grill postmaster general over finances, union contract.  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will probe into the deeply troubled finances of the U.S. Postal Service Tuesday [4/5/2011] and will grill the postmaster general about a new tentative contract with the postal workers union that increases wages and limits layoffs.  The new three-year contract announced March 14 disappointed House Republicans, who think it is overly generous to mail carriers.

Postmaster:  Dogs are attacking Detroit carriers.  Postmaster Lloyd Wesley says there were 59 attacks by dogs last year, compared to 74 in Los Angeles and 10 in New York, both much larger cities.

Postal Service must cancel its Statue of Liberty stamps.  The Postal Service has always taken a few days to get the message — and that performance is holding true even with a mistake as epic as printing a cheap forgery of the Statue of Liberty on more than a billion stamps.  The USPS flubbed as clearly as postal people can:  They printed 1.5 billion Lady Liberty stamps in December alongside 1.5 billion flag stamps.

Has the internet finally killed the U.S. Postal Service?  The Postal Service is continuing to haemorrhage money — $2 billion over the first three months of 2011, to be exact.  The agency released the numbers yesterday [5/10/2011] amid warnings it could be forced to default on federal payments.  Such a default would not interrupt mail service to millions of Americans — but it could further hobble an agency struggling with a sharp decline in mail because of the Internet and a tough economy.

Postal Service reports billions in losses.  The Postal Service is continuing to hemorrhage money, reporting a loss Tuesday of more than $2 billion over the first three months of the year and warning it could be forced to default on federal payments.

Postage stamps as subliminal propaganda tools:
The U.S. Postal Service's new 'forever' green stamps.  U.S.P.S. created a whole new plate of "forever" stamps that will hold their value even if the rates go up.  But there's a problem with the placement of the word "forever" — it looks like it's part of the green message. ... The ones that made me cringe the most were "turn off the lights... forever" and "use public transportation... forever."

Why Is The Federal Government Investigating Lance Armstrong Anyway?  Because from 1999 to 2004, his team (owned by Tailwind, Inc.) received $40 million in sponsorship money from the U.S. Postal Service, which is a government agency.  If the team used that money to run an illegal doping operation, they would liable for charges of "conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering, drug trafficking and defrauding the U.S. government."

Mail carrier who defecated in yard gets to keep job.  A mail carrier who was caught using a yard as his personal toilet will not be fired.  The incident happened last month at a home in southeast Portland and a neighbor, Don Derfler, captured the man in the act with his camera.

The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse.  The USPS is a wondrous American creation.  Six days a week it delivers an average of 563 million pieces of mail — 40 percent of the entire world's volume.  For the price of a 44¢ stamp, you can mail a letter anywhere within the nation's borders.  The service will carry it by pack mule to the Havasupai Indian reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Mailmen on snowmobiles take it to the wilds of Alaska.  If your recipient can no longer be found, the USPS will return it at no extra charge.  It may be the greatest bargain on earth.

What Does the Looming Collapse of the US Postal Service Tell Us?  Incredibly, the White House wants to offer yet another USPS bailout, under the assumption that giving the USPS more breathing room will somehow encourage constructive change.  [Devin] Leonard's article is a beautiful illustration of the fact that while the U.S. is home to many innovative private sector firms, we lag far behind the rest of the rich world in public sector innovation.  And in many cases, ironically enough, it is because our European counterparts have proven more likely to dismantle public sector monopolies and to impose rigorous spending discipline.

11 Things You Should Know About The U.S. Postal Service Before It Goes Bankrupt.  Facing a projected $6.4 billion loss this year, the Postal Service is expected to hit its own debt ceiling by the end of this fiscal year on Sept. 30.  The federal government will then have to choose between letting the agency default on its massive pension obligations or bailing it out to the tune of more than $50 billion.

Justice Department to review postal pension dispute.  The money-losing U.S. Postal Service is hoping the Justice Department will resolve a dispute with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) over the fate of billions of dollars in overpaid retirement payments for postal workers.

Post office suspends retirement contributions.  The agency said Wednesday [6/22/2011] it is acting to conserve cash as it continues to lose money.

Issa introduces bill to 'prevent bailout' of Postal Service.  Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the congressional oversight committee, introduced legislation on Thursday [6/23/2011] to significantly reform the United States Postal Service in order to prevent the need for a "taxpayer bailout."  The legislation follows USPS' announcement on Wednesday that it will no longer pay money into its Federal Employee Retirement System in order to cut costs.  Issa said that such a solution was not acceptable.

Hold Those Christmas Cards to Our Troops!  In a statement that could have been lifted from the website of the embassy of Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Postal Service website uses sharia guidelines to list what is forbidden in packages sent from America to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Issa calls on Postal Workers Union to stop running 'misleading ad'.  Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to the American Postal Workers Union asking them to stop running an ad that he calls "misleading" about the financial situation of the Postal Service.  The ad, which began running Monday on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, talks about the volume of mail that postal workers handle each day, and asks:  "Ever wonder what this costs you as a taxpayer?  Not a single cent."

Head of U.S. Postal Service says delivery could be scaled back to 3 days a week.  With Internet usage rising and mail volume steadily falling, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warned the U.S. Postal Service is going to have to make significant cutbacks that could mean no more Saturday service and eventually lead to mail delivery just three days a week.

Nearly 3,700 post offices slated to close.  Your little post office could be slated to close as the U.S. Postal Service tries to find ways to cut red ink.  Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe released a long-awaited "post office study" of nearly 3,700 potential closings in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Closing of Iconic Post Office Would Not Please Ben Franklin.  The Ben Franklin post office in Philadelphia was informed Tuesday [07/26/2011] that it will likely be shut down, as the U.S. Postal Service attempts to reel in spending by closing thousands of locations across the country.  The unassuming, three-story brick building, which pre-dates the Revolutionary War, would lose a post office but potentially gain a pharmacy, a grocery store or "other appropriate retailers," the Postal Service told MyFoxPhilly.com.

Postal Service Loses $3.1 Billion in 2nd Quarter.  The Postal Service said Friday [8/5/2011] it lost $3.1 billion in the April through June period and could be forced to default on payments due to the federal government when the fiscal year ends in September.  Losses for the year come to $5.7 billion.

Give The Post Office A Break.  I come to defend the Post Office, the whipping boy of the Republic, the symbolic repository of all that ails America. ... The poor Post Office never receives a compliment, only criticism.  The abuse is piled on, segueing into the malaise perceived in government.  Yet the Post Office has been a semi-private, independent agency as the United States Postal Service for over 30 years.  The USPS is the second largest civilian employer in the U.S. (behind Walmart) with 596,000 people and 218,000 vehicles participating in the delivery of 177 billion pieces of mail annually.

US Postal Service warns it could default.  The US Postal Service warned on Friday [8/5/2011] that it could default on payments it owes the federal government, just days after the US government itself narrowly averted a default.

Postal Service proposes cutting 120,000 jobs, pulling out of health-care plan.  The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is proposing to cut its workforce by 20 percent and to withdraw from the federal health and retirement plans because it believes it could provide benefits at a lower cost.  The layoffs would be achieved in part by breaking labor agreements, a proposal that drew swift fire from postal unions.

Postal Service to cut 120,000 jobs.  The USPS is one of the most inefficient organizations in the US.  Lopping 20% of its workforce is a good start at changing that.  But USPS management will have its hands full trying to sell it to the union.  And the downgrade in health benefits will also be a tough sell.

U.S. Postal Service unveils new stamps, letter-writing campaign.  The Postal Service unveiled a new "Send a Hello Forever" series of stamps [8/19/2011] featuring characters from Disney / Pixar Animation Studios.

The Tea Party Postmaster.  Congress has imposed a smorgasbord of socialized fiscal policies on the Postal Service, including price-fixing, wage-controls and tedious service regulation.  "Universal service obligations" require the Postal Service to deliver mail to every person, regardless of how remote their abode, for the same cost and within the same timeframe.  Labor wages account for fully 80% of the Postal Service's budget, and it is mandated to pre-fund, 75 years in advance, extravagant employee pension funds.  And, as an agency of the executive branch, reform must emerge from a Congress packed with union-loyal Democrats.

Postal Service paying fewer workers to do nothing.  The U.S. Postal Service, expecting about $9 billion in losses this year amid slumping mail volume, is still paying thousands of its workers millions of dollars each year to do nothing.  But it's paying tens of millions of dollars less for "standby time" than it did just two years ago, according to a new report.

Clock ticking on Postal Service default.  The Postal Service, which delivers almost half the world's mail and employs more than half a million Americans, is relying on relief from a Congress absorbed by partisan fighting and a nasty debate on how to cut the federal deficit.  The agency lost $3.1 billion in the last quarter and has asked Congress to cut Saturday mail delivery and allow it to dip into an estimated retirement fund surplus to pay other obligations.

Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount.  The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today:  the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.

Postal Service may close entirely this winter.  The U.S. Postal Service may be forced to close this winter after being unable to make a $5.5 billion repayment, it has been claimed.  The post office has already been subject to painful cost-cutting measures during attempts to erase a deficit which will reach $9.2 billion this fiscal year.

U.S. Postal Service Nears Default.  As the U.S. Postal Service begins shuttering offices across the country to stem their ever-growing $9.2 billion deficit, the entire agency now faces default and could shut down next summer, USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer told ABCNews.com today [9/5/2011].

Democrats denounce Postal Service bid to break union deals.  Two key Democrats wrote to the US Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe yesterday [9/6/2011], insisting that USPS financial challenges can be tackled without going against union agreements to lay off thousands of postal workers.

Obama: The Obsolete 'Post Office President'.  The US Postal Service is bankrupt.  At its current rate, it will have to shut down this winter because it will run out of cash to pay its bills.  This has been coming for a long time, and not just because of a bloated union payroll.  First-class mail is the core business of the Postal Service, and the Internet has simply made it unnecessary.

The Post Office: It Was Fun While It Lasted.  The US Postal Service seems to exist these days to serve those few remaining people left who are still confused by the concept of email and electronic bill paying.  Its target demographic increasingly seems to be the same as the nightly television network news and dead-tree newspapers, media that similarly exists largely for elderly people who've never figured out how that newfangled "Internet" works.

No more mail? What would Ben Franklin think?.  The internet, along with the advent of online bill paying, has contributed to a sharp decline in mail handled by the post office, from 207 billion in 2001 to 171 billion last year.

Sorting out the Postal Service's future.  It is no secret that the Postal Service is in need of overhaul and modernization, and Congress must play a key part in addressing the problem immediately.  But a bailout costing taxpayers any money is wrong because it puts taxpayers on the hook for the Postal Service's failures, just as they were in the case of General Motors, Fannie Mae and AIG.

U.S. Postal Service Seeking Nominations for First Living Person to Appear on Stamp.  The U.S. Postal Service announced Monday that it is ending its longstanding rule that stamps cannot feature people who are still alive and it's asking the public to offer suggestions on who should be first.

The Editor says...
I'll give you one guess who it will be.

Unions Rally to Reform Postal Service Without Cutting Jobs.  Letter carriers across the country delivered more than mail today [9/27/2011], hoping to bring the "truth" about the Postal Service's financial crisis to the public, Iowa State President of the American Postal Workers Union Bruce Clark said.  Postal workers held 492 "Save America's Postal Service" rallies across the country.  Members of four employee unions rallied to support a bill that some say could save the Postal Service from certain economic disaster without cutting jobs or shuttering post offices.

Mail worker unions overload tea party group with more than 100 pounds of mail.  In what appears to be an attempt to overwhelm their critics, postal union members have sent more than 100 pounds of mail to a tea party group advocating for United States Postal Service reform.  Donna Wiesner Keene of TheTeaParty.net told The Daily Caller the group receives its mail weekly, and that the onslaught so far has spanned two weeks.  The first week, she said the union workers sent approximately 700 letters and delivered them in a box weighing 57 pounds.

Issa: Postal Service Must Cut Workers.  Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has a plan to save the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service — and cutting labor costs is a vital part of it, he says, according to The Hill.  Those costs amount to about 80 percent of USPS expenses, so that makes staff reductions urgent, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and other Republicans say.

Idle Sioux City postal workers to earn millions.  Tuesday [10/4/2011] was the first day that Scott Tott was scheduled to become a standby employee at the Sioux City mail-processing facility that closed Friday.  Tott — and 39 of his workplace peers — might have nothing to do for the next 3½ years, but will still get paid.

U.S. Postal Service, Near Collapse, Wants to Lay Off 120,000 Workers.  The U.S. Postal Service says it may lay off 120,000 workers, remove collective bargaining restrictions, and rework health insurance and pension programs for employees.  The requests to Congress, made public August 11, come as the result of billions of dollars of operating losses, including more than $3 billion of losses from April through June of this year.  The USPS estimates its losses for the full fiscal year ending September 30 will top $8.3 billion.  The USPS stated it might default on payments to the federal government for the pension portion of the Federal Employees Retirement System.  The postal service does not receive tax dollars.  Revenue comes from selling postal services.

Post Office's Rescue Plan: Junk Mail.  Many consumers are irked by the catalogs, credit-card pitches and other "junk mail" they receive.  But the U.S. Postal Service loves it -- and wants to deliver more.  The agency, beset by historic losses and a plummet in first-class mail, is running promotions, easing rules and planning television and radio ads to encourage more businesses to send pitches by standard mail, the official term for bulk mailings used by marketers to prospect for customers.

As Post Office faces insolvency, Congress misses the message.  There was a time when the postman (and he was a man) delivered mail to every home at least twice a day, Sundays too if you paid a little extra for Special Delivery.  But just as the telegraph and railroads killed the Pony Express, Americans now have BlackBerries and all these i-things to communicate with anyone they please anywhere at all at any time they please, instantly and at miniscule visible cost.

USPS Union Hires Obama Bailout Insider.  In the wake of the USPS' case for an $85 billion bailout being shot down by the GAO, the USPS mail carriers' union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, announced that it was hiring Ron Bloom.  Bloom is a former Obama Administration official who, in his capacity as "Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy," helped engineer the restructuring and bailout of General Motors.  The Wall Street Journal notes that this is a sign that the postal workers union is going on the offensive against plans to cut funding and jobs as the USPS becomes less and less profitable.

Poor Penmanship Spells Job Security for Post Office's Scribble Specialists.  A man in Emden, Mo., recently mailed a letter that he had addressed, in a scribble, to somebody in "Shelhjreille, Mo."  That's the way his handwriting made it look, anyhow.  The letter was delivered the next day.  Gary Oliver, a postal clerk 1,200 miles away, got it there.  Mr. Oliver works in the Salt Lake City "Remote Encoding Center" of the U.S. Postal Service — a room where hundreds of clerks sit in silence, day and night, staring at America's worst-addressed envelopes.

Cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service still owes retired postmaster.  In a year when the U.S. Postal Service lost more than $5 billion, former Postmaster General John E. Potter still received more than a quarter-million dollars thanks to a hefty deferred-compensation package, a "lifetime achievement award" and a severance deal, records show.  What's more, the cash-strapped Postal Service still owes more than $800,000 to Mr. Potter — the result of years of incentive awards that were deferred to avoid running afoul of federal compensation caps.

Postal cuts to slow delivery of first-class mail.  Facing bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring that will slow delivery and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.

USPS wants to limit next-day service.  The U.S. Postal Service on Monday [12/5/2011] will announce a cost-savings proposal that would no longer deliver first-class mail on the next day.

Postal Cutbacks to Delay 1st-Class Mail.  The Postal Service, which has been losing money for five years, said Monday [12/5/2011] that it is shuttering more than 200 mail processing centers, adding at least a day's wait for many first-class deliveries.

Postal Service to slow mail delivery, increase cost of stamps in 2012.  Snail mail is expected to get slower and more pricey in the new year.  The U.S. Postal Service is cutting costs as more of its customers switch to email or pay their bills online.  Monday, the post office announced it is virtually eliminating the chance for stamped mail to arrive the next day, and most customers will likely see delays of one to two days for first class and bulk mail.  The price of a first class stamp is also increasing from 44 to 45 cents beginning Jan. 22.

Postal Service wants to end next-day delivery.  The U.S. Postal Service wants to end next-day delivery and end mail processing operations in about half of its 500 processing centers.  It's just the latest in a series of the moves from the USPS to try to avoid bankruptcy.

Privatize the Postal Service.  Sunday delivery ended in 1912, partly because some clergy considered it a desecration of the Sabbath, and partly because people who the clergy thought should be in the pews on Sundays were instead socializing at post offices.  Two post offices still open for Sunday delivery are in Angwin, Calif., and Collegedale, Tenn., where many people observe the Sabbath on Saturday.

E-mail isn't killing the Postal Service.  It's Groundhog Day at the US Postal Service:  time once again for the familiar laments about how the agency's financial losses are surging, how demand for its services is plummeting, and how officials have no choice but to close local facilities, raise the price of stamps, and reduce delivery standards.  Last week the Postal Service announced plans to cut $3 billion in costs by slowing down first-class mail and eliminating about half of the country's 461 mail-processing centers.

Postal workers behaving badly.  Most of the 574,000 employees of the U.S. Postal Service complete their appointed rounds and quickly move envelopes and packages to final destinations.  But some postal workers steal mail, burn it, hoard it or claim thousands of dollars in fraudulent workers compensation claims, according to a new watchdog report.

U.S. Post Office Bans Christmas Carolers.  A group of Christmas carolers was thrown out of a U.S. Post Office in Silver Spring, MD, after the post office manager told them they were not allowed to sing Christmas carols on government property.  A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service confirmed the incident occurred Saturday [12/10/2011] at a branch office in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center.  A trio of carolers walked into the building dressed in attire reminiscent of Charles Dickens and began singing.

9 Things to Say Goodbye To:  [#1] The Post Office.  Get ready to imagine a world without the post office.  They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term.  Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive.  Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

The Editor says...
I can only imagine what it's like in your neighborhood, but on my street the UPS and FedEx drivers always seem to be in a big hurry, while the postman takes his sweet time.

U.S. Postal Service Tells Carrier to Stop Dressing Like Santa.  The U.S. Postal Service has ordered a letter carrier to stop wearing a Santa Claus outfit after a co-worker complained.  Bob McLean has been dressing up as Santa for the past decade, donning a red suit to deliver the mail along his route in Bellevue, WA.  He even has a snow white beard — that's real.

Time to accept the death of the Postal Service.  The ubiquity of email and social-networking websites has caused a steady decline in the number of people using the services of the 236-year-old U.S. Postal Service.  With the online presence of banks and credit card and utility companies, relying on the USPS to pay bills often has become unnecessary.  The result is a decrease in first-class mail volume from 104 billion in 2001 to 73.5 billion in 2010 and an estimated 47 percent drop expected over the next decade.

Kodak and the Post Office.  The news that Eastman Kodak is preparing to file for bankruptcy, after being the leading photographic company in the world for more than a hundred years, truly marks the end of an era. ... Great names of companies in other fields have likewise vanished as new technology brought new rivals to the forefront, or else made the whole product obsolete, as happened with typewriters, slide rules and other products now remembered only by an older generation.  That is what happens in a market economy and we all benefit from it as consumers.  Unfortunately, that is not what happens in government.  The post office is a classic example.

Presidential nonsense:  [Scroll down]  If the means of communication become cheaper through fax machines, the Internet and telephones, should subsidies be expended to help the U.S. Postal Service survive?  Years ago, typing was done on a mechanical typewriter; milk was delivered to doorsteps via horse and wagon; slide rules were used to make calculations.  Should any of these products and practices have survived, or was it OK for natural selection to consign them to the dustbin of history?

Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service:  While the USPS is structured like a business, Congress often prevents it from actually operating like a private company, such as taking actions to reduce costs, improve efficiency, or innovate in other ways.  The agency is also obligated by statute to provide mail services to all Americans, irrespective of where they live and the cost of serving them.  Furthermore, it is required to deliver first-class mail at a uniform price throughout the nation.  While Congress imposes various costs and obligations on the USPS, it also protects it from competition.  The USPS has a legal monopoly over first-class mail and standard mail (formerly called third-class mail).  Thus, we have a postal system that encourages high costs and inefficiency, while preventing entrepreneurs from trying to improve postal services for Americans.

"The check is in the mail" would carry a lot more meaning.
USPS fallout: Dems seek to treat bills as paid once they are postmarked.  Eight House Democrats on Thursday [2/9/2012] proposed legislation that would require companies to consider bills as "paid" once they are postmarked, an idea meant to help consumers stay current on their bills given the likelihood of service cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).  Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the lead sponsor of the bill, said USPS has announced service cutbacks that would eliminate the chance of next-day mail service for letters dropped in home mailboxes and would slow down all first-class mail.

U.S. Postal Service plans to close, consolidate 223 processing centers.  The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday [2/23/2012] that at least 223 mail processing facilities could close or be consolidated in the coming year as part of a three-year, $15 billion cost-savings plan.  The locations, in some cases employing hundreds of workers who sort mail and prepare it for delivery, stretch from Eastern Maine to the Los Angeles suburbs and dozens of Midwestern communities.  In some cases, mail intended for one state will be sorted in another.

Spare That Post Office.  The list of those due to be executed is long and ominous.  There were 179 names on it just here in Arkansas — names like Carthage.  Casscoe.  Columbus, New Hope, Witts Springs....  Those are just some of the post offices to be closed down as the U.S. Postal Service prepares to cut its budget — and its service.  The smallest post offices have become an endangered species.  And when they go, the sense of identity and community they gave America's smallest towns will go with them.

35,000 Postal Service jobs on the chopping block.  The U.S. Postal Service announced on Thursday new plans to consolidate or close 223 mail processing plants, putting 35,000 jobs at stake starting in late May or June.  The move would save $2.1 billion and is part of the agency's broader effort to save $20 billion in the next three years.

Postal watchdog: Alaska subsidy costs millions.  A program that began nearly 40 years ago as a way to get crucial goods to remote Alaskan communities now delivers big profits to airlines and private merchants while costing the U.S. Postal Service tens of millions of dollars, according to a postal watchdog.  Citing more than $70 million in losses last year alone, the U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General this week issued a white paper calling for major reforms to the so-called "Alaska Bypass" program.

Postal Service to push retirements hard.  More than a quarter-million U.S. Postal Service workers are eligible for retirement, and a restructuring plan proposed Thursday [2/23/2012] relies heavily on getting many of them to quit.  Joseph Corbett, chief financial officer for the Postal Service, told reporters in a conference call the agency needs to reduce its workforce by 155,000 employees by 2016.

Postal Service seeks to cut processing centers.  With no financial relief in sight, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with planned cuts to more than 260 mail-processing centers around the nation, part of a billion-dollar cost-cutting effort that will slow delivery of first-class mail.

Postal Service loses $3 billion.  The U.S. Postal Service lost more than $3 billion during the last three months of 2011 as continued declines in volume of first-class mail wiped out good news about the shipping and packaging business.

Black history stamp honorees include ex-Paterson mayor convicted for tax evasion.  When Paterson's former mayor, Martin G. Barnes, was sent off to prison for three years on tax evasion and mail fraud offenses, it might have seemed far-fetched to see his face turn up on a postage stamp.  But there it was Tuesday night [2/28/2012], when he was one of 13 current and former elected officials, judges, clergy and others honored by Passaic County as part of a Black History Month commemoration.

The Incredible Shrinking Postal Service.  Last year the USPS lost approximately $5 billion.  It has announced drastic cuts that it hopes will result in $20 billion savings by 2015.  It was once profitable, but the explosion of internet traffic (especially in correspondence and bill-paying) has sharply reduced the volume of First Class mail.  They have picked an odd way to try to turn this around:  Close 700 or more offices, cut Saturday mail deliveries, systematically jack up the price of a First Class stamp and, now, the piàce de résistance, "consolidate" distribution centers.

And Now for a Postal Bailout.  It's another week in Washington, and it's yet another bailout.  This time, taxpayers will be tapped for another $41 billion to subsidize the healthcare retirement benefits of postal workers — benefits that are quite scarce in the private sector. ... If the USPS were a private entity, it would trim its workforce and operations to the amount of revenue they can produce until they are eventually forced to go out of business. That's how creative destruction and supply and demand work in the real world.  That is not how it works in Washington.

Postal Service Spent $717 Million on Unauthorized Overtime Pay.  The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) allowed its employees to earn more than $700 million in unauthorized overtime over the past two years.  Postal workers received overtime without approval from supervisors totaling $294 million in 2010 and $423 million in 2011, according to a report by the Postal Service's inspector general.  Management accepted most of the criticism, including the finding that "some city letter carriers clocked in before their scheduled tour of duty resulting in significant unauthorized overtime workhours."

Postal bill could bring hike in health premiums for federal workers.  Thousands of federal workers could see a double-digit jump in their healthcare premiums under a postal reform bill that is moving through the Senate.  The bill would change the way postal workers get their health benefits and could have a ripple effect across the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), which provides coverage for the federal workforce.

Federal Spending Goes Postal.  The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday [4/24/2012] on postal reform legislation that one leading Republican argues would violate the terms of last year's Budget Control Act.  Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, raised a point of order on Monday against the 21st Century Postal Service Act.  The bill aims to reform the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which is teetering on the brink of insolvency.

Senate Democrat: We Can Save the Postal Service with Wind Farms!.  Is Sen. Tom Carper's (D-DE) argument even logical?

The USPS Is About To Go Out Like The Pony Express.  The volume of mail has plummeted in the last few years, falling from a high of 213 billion pieces in 2006 to 168 billion last year.  And things are only expected to get worse.  Part of this can be blamed on the recession, but most of it is a result of changes in the market, changes in the way Americans communicate, share photos, send invites and pay bills.

Senate OKs bill to slow cutbacks closings at Postal Service.  Saturday postal delivery could continue for at least two years.  And the closing of post offices in smaller communities may not happen as quickly as advertised.  The Senate on Wednesday [4/25/2012] approved legislation that would slow the U.S. Postal Service's effort to make such changes.

The Senate's Dead-Letter Postal Plan.  This week the Senate passed a postal bill that throws billions at the beleaguered monopoly but does nothing to fix it.  If Congress can't even manage to get this reform right, the country is doomed.

Taxpayers may be on hook for US Postal Service losses.  The U.S. Postal Service is often the butt of jokes, but there's nothing funny about the agency's bottom line.  The USPS is losing up to $25 million dollars a day.  Until now, taxpayers have not been on the hook for its mounting losses, but that could be about to change.  A bailout recently approved by the Senate would appropriate $34 billion in federal money.

Plan Calls for 50-Cent First-Class Stamp.  The U.S. Postal Service proposed drastic changes to its operations Thursday [2/16/2012], including cutting more than 150,000 jobs from its payroll, raising the price of a first-class stamp to 50 cents and extending delivery time for long-distance mail, as part of a plan to save $22 billion annually.

50-Cent Stamp, Other Postal Changes Coming.  The U.S. Post Office, facing financial losses of up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015, wants to charge more for postage, more for services, and to suspend Saturday delivery.  The 50-cent stamp would represent an 11 percent increase in postal rates.

An interview with Postmaster General and U.S. Postal Service CEO Patrick Donahoe:
Post Office decides to keep small posts running.  The U.S. Postal service is scrapping a plan to close hundreds of rural post offices.  It was part of a money saving measure for the nearly bankrupt agency.

Man gets free trip to Chicago after postcard sent by mother in 1957 finally reaches him.  Scott McMurry got his first glimpse of Chicago's John G. Shedd Aquarium last week on the back of a postcard he should have received from his mother more than 50 years ago.

Orlando postal worker says mystery package made him ill.  A postal worker says a mysterious leaking package from Yemen has left him seriously ill, and while some of his colleagues confirm his account of what happened at an Orlando sorting facility 15 months ago, the U.S. Postal Service denies the package ever existed.

Postal Pension "Refund" Is a Disguised Taxpayer Bailout.  Calls to refund "overpayments" by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to the retirement of postal workers are misguided.  The estimates of overpayments are inflated by overly optimistic assumptions, as recent years have demonstrated.  A refund would leave taxpayers on the hook for future shortfalls in USPS retirement funding.  The better choice is to follow the private-sector practice of using the current surplus — whatever it is — to defray future retirement payments.  Instead of giving the USPS a questionable refund, Congress should require it to make comprehensive reforms that recognize new realities and enable it to restructure its operations accordingly.

Obama Goes Postal, Lands in Dead-Letter Office.  No institution has been the butt of more government-inefficiency jokes than the U.S. Postal Service.  Maybe the Department of Motor Vehicles.  The only way the post office can stay in business is its government subsidy.  The USPS lost $2.4 billion in the quarter ended in June and projects a net loss of $7 billion in fiscal 2009, outstanding debt of more than $10 billion and a cash shortfall of $1 billion.  It was moved to intensive care — the Government Accountability Office's list of "high risk" cases — last month and told to shape up.

10 postal workers launch hunger strike.  Ten current and former postal workers launched a more than 3-day hunger strike Monday to protest looming cuts and closures at the U.S. Postal Service.

Historic post offices in danger of extinction, advocacy group says.  Historic post offices — architecturally distinct and centrally located within their communities — are in danger of extinction, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which last month included them among its annual list of 11 endangered places.

Baseball stamps
New stamps hail 4 baseball greats, with one unforced error.  Yes, yes, the Postal Service has an unnecessary multi-billion dollar default looming Aug. 1.  But this morning let us let it enjoy its greatest pre-order sale of stamps in history.  Nearly two million pre-orders of a special four-stamp sport series.

Post Office Nears First Default in Its History.  While lawmakers continue to fight over how to fix the ailing U.S. Postal Service, the agency's money problems are only growing worse.  The Postal Service repeated on Wednesday that without congressional action, it will default — a first in its long history, a spokesman said — on a legally required annual $5.5 billion payment, due Aug. 1, into a health-benefits fund for future retirees.  Action in Congress isn't likely, as the House prepares to leave for its August recess.

Time again to tame the postal monopoly.  The USPS has regulatory authority that it has used against legitimate competitors like private mailbox outlets and express delivery companies.  The Postal Service, unlike private companies, pays no taxes and is exempt from many government regulations.  And while it is supposed to be self-financing, in a pinch it can go to the government for lines of credit and taxpayer bailouts.  But the Postal Service is in a death spiral and desperate for cash.  Because more people now communicate, pay bills, and transact business through electronic media, mail volume has fallen by 30 percent over the past decade.

Congress just mails it in, according to UPS.  UPS has delivered a stark warning to the White House and Congress that U.S. economic growth will fall to an anemic annual rate of 1 percent by Election Day.  The company's leaders on Tuesday [7/24/2012] said U.S. businesses are in danger of going over the fiscal cliff because of Washington's inability to get anything done.  The packaging company is often seen as a useful barometer for the broader business community.

MontCo police charge man in post-office stabbing.  Ray Alfred Young, 67, of Silver Spring, was charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and concealing a dangerous weapon.  Young allegedly stabbed and seriously injured another man in a Colesville post office Thursday [7/26/2012] after he believed his 58-year-old victim had cut in line at the counter, police said.

Lady Bird Johnson honored with U.S. postal stamp.  In a rare tribute, Lady Bird Johnson is getting her own U.S. postal stamp — only the fifth first lady in history to receive the honor.

U.S. Postal Service nears historic default on $5B payment.  The U.S. Postal Service is bracing for a first-ever default on billions in payments due to the Treasury, adding to widening uncertainty about the mail agency's solvency as first-class letters plummet and Congress deadlocks on ways to stem the red ink.

Can America survive without the U.S. Postal Service?  USPS officials have said they will miss two benefit payments mandated by Congress, which has caused a whirlwind of speculation about the future of the Postal Service.  The United States Postal Service is one of the few current government institutions spelled out in the Constitution.

Postal Service Losing $42,335,766 Per Day.  The U.S. Postal Service has been losing an average of $42,335,766 per day in fiscal 2012.  On Thursday, the service reported a third quarter (April 1-June 30) net loss of $5.2 billion, bringing its fiscal year-to-date net loss to $11.6 billion.  There were 274 days in the first three quarters of fiscal 2012.  Thus the Postal Service has lost, on average, $42,335,766 per day in this fiscal year.

Postal Workers Deliver A Message, Not Mail.  Postal unions want the American public to know that their employer is profitable.  While mail volume has dropped by 22 percent since 2006, the agency made $226 million in the first quarter of this year, funded entirely through stamps, not taxpayer money.  The reason for the deficit, they say, is a 2006 mandate that the postal service pre-fund 75-years of pension in a 10-year window, at a rate of $5.5 billion annually.  Two independent actuaries have said that the post office has overpaid $50 billion into this fund.

The Truth About The Post Office's Financial Mess:  The financial woes of the U.S. Postal System have become a point of contention on Capitol Hill.  The Postal Service is supposed to make a $5.5 billion payment to its retiree health care fund by November 18th... but doesn't have the money.  US Postal Service workers have a retiree health care benefit in addition to their pension.  Before Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the USPS operated under a pay-as-you-go model for retiree health care funding.  The new law requires the Postal Service to pre-fund its benefit obligations.

Full text of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.

Homer Simpson postage stamp
USPS stuck with 682M unsold 'Simpsons' stamps.  The U.S. Postal Service wasted $1.2 million in printing costs by selling less than a one-third of the 1 billion commemorative stamps of The Simpsons, Bloomberg news reports.  Bloomberg's Angela Greiling Keane writes that the inspector general of the money-losing USPS singled out overproduction of commemorative stamps as one example of not properly gauging the needs of customers.

The Editor says...
Why does everything in this country have to be shallow and insipid?  There was a time when postage stamps reflected a level of dignity and decorum, with artwork generally confined to innocuous patriotic symbols and portraits of great American leaders.  There are certain types of letters, and certain destinations for which Homer Simpson stamps would be wildly inappropriate, and most people would have other styles of postage stamps on hand.  But it seems to me that the bulk of today's casual communications are handled through text messages and email, most businesses use postage meters to send out invoices and such, and the majority of first-class (paper/snail) mail sent through the postal system with stamps manually affixed is either serious business or highly personal.  Some overpaid bureaucrat evidently thought Homer Simpson stamps were a good idea, and that person's job is probably in no danger.

New Jersey mail carrier used daily postal route to distribute cocaine, feds say.  A mail carrier used her daily route to move cocaine shipments in falsely addressed packages on behalf of a drug trafficking organization based in Puerto Rico, federal authorities said Tuesday [8/28/2012].

50 Examples of Government Waste.  In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, including "over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold."  The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.

"Wastebook 2012":  The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wastes $2 million in printing and manufacturing costs annually producing commemorative stamps that must later be destroyed.  Several stamps series have been printed so excessively that had every person in the nation sent a piece of mail using them, there still would have been leftovers.

U.S. Postal Service on a 'Tightrope' Lost $15.9 Billion.  The U.S. Postal Service said its net loss last year widened to $15.9 billion, more than the $15 billion it had projected, as mail volume continued to drop, falling 5 percent. [...] The service, whose fiscal year ends Sept. 30, lost $5.1 billion a year earlier.  It announced the 2012 net loss at a meeting at its Washington headquarters.

Is the Postal Service Like Greece?  [Scroll down]  The U.S. Postal Service and the Greek government both have too many workers and provide above-market compensation packages, leading to excess labor costs.  That hurts the Service, but Greece's labor problems are worse. [...] Labor costs remain a huge problem, however.  No-layoff provisions in union contracts have hampered the Service's efforts to trim its workforce in line with plunging mail demand.  Postal workers' fringe benefits are extremely generous and expensive compared to those of comparable workers in the private sector.  Rigid labor rules hamper the Service's efforts to put its workers to the best use.

The U.S. Postal Service vs. Greece.  The "good" news for the USPS is that its fiscal situation isn't as bad as what the Greeks are dealing with — at least not yet.  Whereas previous Greek governments intentionally understated deficits and debt until it caught up to the country in 2009, the USPS hasn't tried to hide the fact that its prospects are bleak.

Time to Stamp 'Cancelled' On Postal Reform?  After lots of effort it looked like 2012 might finally be the year Congress passed legislation making major reforms at the U.S. Postal Service, a quasi-private corporation owned by the U.S. government that has been burning through money faster than a clean-energy company with a grant from the Obama Administration.

Inspector General: Postal Service Will 'Cease to Exist' Without Bailout.  Inspector general David Williams, described as the "chief postal watchdog," said the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will go out of business this year unless Congress bails it out.  In an interview with the Guardian, Williams said the postal service lost nearly $16 billion the last fiscal year, nearly $41 billion over the last five years, and has reached its $15 billion credit limit.

U.S. Post Office cuts threaten source of black jobs.  The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service has eliminated 168,000 jobs since 2006, and more cuts could result as it struggles to avoid its own "fiscal cliff."

Congress — not email — destroyed the Postal Service.  [I]t's certainly true that the Postal Service faces serious problems.  Mail volume is falling.  The organization's annual deficits are rising.  The postal system is slowly circling the drain.  If you pay any attention to postal issues, you're familiar with some of the proximate causes of these problems:  Email is eroding first-class mail volume; Congress forces the Postal Service to prefund retirement benefits for employees it hasn't even hired yet; etc.  But the deeper source of the Postal Services woes is the U.S. Congress, not some imagined incompetence on the part of its managers and executives.

Privatize the Postal Service: Save Money, Improve Service.  In addition to — and because of — the fact that the existence of the Postal Service violates the rights of Americans by forbidding them to act and contract in accordance with their judgment, the service provided by the Postal Service is pathetic.  When private businesses such as UPS and FedEx have been permitted to compete with the monopoly for just a portion of services (package delivery), they have profitably provided more guaranteed delivery options and much better service at comparable rates.  Privatizing the US Postal Service would be good on multiple counts and bad on none.

Postal Service Ghost Protocol.  Is there a better tutorial in government failure than a monopoly that loses about $25 million every day, like the U.S. Postal Service now?  This is an outfit that is proposing to cut what it does by roughly one-sixth and only solve about one-eighth of its financial problem.  This isn't to disparage Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and his plan to stop delivering mail on Saturdays, which is really a cheeky ultimatum to his political and union masters.

Postal Service 'welcome kit' raises questions; White House now cites Privacy Act.  The federal Privacy Act bars agencies from selling or renting personal information, including names and addresses.  Through Imagitas, the Postal Service uses information it collects from people who filled out change-of-address forms to send an official-looking MoversGuide welcome kit filled mostly with advertising and coupons from companies selling cellphones, insurance, home security, mattresses and lots of other move-related products and services.  The Postal Service and Imagitas split the ad revenue. Both say their arrangement is perfectly legal.

Wrong Legislative Thought Of The Day: An Email Tax To Save The Post Office.  There have been questions for quite some time now as to whether or not the traditional US postal system can survive the digital era.  Frankly, the outlook isn't good, what with email replacing the sending of letters in large part and the postal service losing billions of dollars each year.

Six Pounds of Junk Mail, Or, A Case Against the U.S. Postal Service.  Yesterday I returned home from the office to find an enormous packet, wrapped in plastic, on the front porch — a set of catalogs from Restoration Hardware so big that, as the postman had apparently discovered, it wouldn't fit inside our mailbox.  This made me angry.  I didn't ask for these catalogs. [...] If a teenager had dropped six pounds of garbage on my front yard, he would have committed an act of vandalism and I could have called the police.

Berkley, CA Councilman Wants Billions in Email Taxes — to Fund Post Office.  Ponder for but a moment the monumental government overreach necessary to monitor and count every email every American sends.

A Post-Post Office World.  The post office lost $16 billion last year, despite having all sorts of advantages that most private businesses don't have.  They have a near monopoly on first-class mail delivery.  You want to deliver something to someone?  You better not put it in their mailbox — that's illegal.  The U.S. Postal Service doesn't pay sales tax or property tax.  They don't even pay parking tickets.  With advantages like that, how do they lose money?

Postal Service is on its last legs, with little help in sight .  The U.S. Postal Service is bleeding so much money that its future is in doubt, but Congress hasn't let it make major changes.

Feds: Postal Service photographs every piece of mail it processes.
Ricin Suspect Was Tracked Via Mail Scanners.  [Scroll down]  According to FBI Agent James Spiropoulos, investigators accessed a Postal Service computer system that incorporates a Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) program which photographs and captures an image of every mail piece that is processed."  Agents were able to obtain front and back images of about 20 mail pieces that had been processed "immediately before the mail piece addressed to Mayor Bloomberg."

The Editor says...
This might explain why the Postal Service is kept afloat, even though it loses money:  The postal service is being used for domestic surveillance.

U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement.  Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September:  a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home.  "Show all mail to supv" — supervisor — "for copying prior to going out on the street," read the card.  It included Mr. Pickering's name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored.  The word "confidential" was highlighted in green.

Gov't Collects Logs Of Every Piece Of Mail Sent in The United States, NYT Reports.  If the government collecting tons of metadata on phone and online communications has made you consider sticking with the Postal Service, then you may want to read this first.  The New York Times reports today [7/3/2013] on how government law enforcement agencies are collecting logs on every single piece of mail sent within the United States.  USPS computers take photos of the outside of every piece of mail (they need a warrant to actually read the contents) and send them to the agencies that request the information.

U.S. government tracks your snail mail, too.  The United States Postal Service photographs and records the information on the outside of every piece of mail sent in America — 160 billion every year — the New York Times reported Wednesday [7/3/2013].  Under the auspices of a program called Mail Isolation Control and Tracking, the USPS stores the details of physical correspondences in a way that some have characterized as analogous to the National Security Agency's collection of telephone "metadata."  Unlike the details of the much-publicized NSA program, however, many aspects of the USPS system, called "mail covers," remain unclear.

Government tracking all snail-mail, no warrant required.  The United States Postal Service photographs every piece of mail it processes under a program that started after the anthrax attacks of 2001, according to a report Wednesday in the New York Times.  That's 160 billion purchases, letters, bills, gifts — everything you've ever mailed or had mailed to you in the past decade or more is on record somewhere with the government under the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, The Times reports.

Should a government agency losing $25 million a day be running a gargantuan photography studio?
Operation Total Polaroid.  Last April Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe provided the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform testimony at turns both apocalyptic and utopian — a perfect specimen, really, of the peculiar mix of preening self-congratulations and accountability-shirking martyrdom that currently characterizes our metastasizing bureaucratic class. [...] One "service" Donahoe predictably failed to nominate for streamlining is the Postal Service's taxpayer-funded program to turn every man, woman, and child who sends or receives mail in this country into a potential suspect to be tracked and observed at all times.

USPS Takes Photos of all Mail.  The Postal Service takes pictures of every piece of mail processed in the United States — 160 billion last year — and keeps them on hand for up to a month.

More about domestic surveillance.

Britain set to privatize its Royal Mail postal service.  Britain is privatizing its Royal Mail postal service through a public stock offering within the next nine months.  The step was expected as the British government has been giving the Royal Mail a big overhaul in preparation for going public, including paying its whopping $6.9 billion pension fund deficit and bolstering its profit.

Guns OK in post office parking lots, federal judge rules.  Citizens can legally carry firearms in post office parking lots, a federal judge has ruled.  The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Tab Bonidy, a resident of rural Avon, Colorado, who was prohibited by U.S. Postal Service regulations from carrying his gun on postal service property.  In the town of Avon, the post office doesn't deliver mail to residents but does provide free post office boxes.

For new U.S. homes, no more mailman at the door under postal plan.  Under a cost-saving plan by the U.S. Postal Service, Americans moving into newly built homes will not have mail delivered to their doors and will instead have to trek to the curb or neighborhood cluster boxes.

Goodbye, mail carrier; hello, cluster mailboxes.  Door-to-door mail delivery appears to be a luxury that the U.S. Postal Service no longer can afford.  It's no secret that the Postal Service is in terrible financial trouble; last year the agency lost $16 billion.  No business can afford to go on that way without making dramatic changes.

The Post Office is Sitting on a Gold Mine.  The United States Postal Service is operating according to a paradigm set up 100 years ago. [...] So far this year I've written only 3 checks to providers of goods or services.  Almost everything can be paid on line or via bank bill pay services or credit cards.  About 95% of the mail I receive I never open or look at. [...] I hate actually going to the post office.  Usually, in Chicago or Miami where I live, I have to wait in line for 30 minutes simply to be served.  That is not good service.

When money is tight, lower your standards.  It's the American way.
USPS could start shipping booze as money maker.  Some U.S. senators have proposed an inventive plan for the cash-strapped Postal Service to raise cash: lifting a century-old ban on the agency shipping alcohol.  The two Republican and Democratic senators late on Thursday [8/1/2013] introduced legislation to change a 1909 law that prohibits the Postal Service from shipping alcoholic beverages.  The ban started a decade before prohibition-era laws made producing, selling and transporting alcohol illegal across the country.

Postal Service revamps priority mail program to raise revenue.  The agency is now offering free online tracking for priority mail shipments, free insurance and date-specific delivery so customers know whether a package will arrive in one, two or three days.

Across the pond, an example of how to do postal reform right.  The contrast between the two headlines couldn't have been more stark.  On the same day the U.S. Postal Service proposed a price increase that its chairman described as a "last resort," Britain's Royal Mail was preparing to raise as much as $5.3 billion in an IPO.  Both venerable institutions are coping with lower mail volume.  Email and online bill paying are just as popular across the pond as they are here, but Royal Mail turned a $650 million profit last year while the Postal Service was racking up a $15.9 billion loss.

US Postal Service Employee of the Year.  Your tax dollars at work!  [Video clip]

Postal Service Destroys 'Just Move' Stamps Over Safety Concerns.  The stamps, which were aimed at getting children to be more active, featured kids cannonballing into a pool, skateboarding without kneepads, and performing a headstand without a helmet.

Shirley Chisholm Gets a Stamp of Approval.  A stamp honoring Shirley A. Chisholm, the former congresswoman from New York, may soon grace your mail.  The United States Postal Service announced Thursday [10/10/2013] that it would print a stamp recognizing Ms. Chisholm, the first black woman to serve in Congress and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, in its Black Heritage stamp series next year.

Post Office $5.6 Billion Default Raises Urgency of Reforms.  With Congress and the media focused on the government shutdown and how to avoid default on the national debt, little attention was directed toward the U.S. Postal Service which earlier this month defaulted on a required $5.6 billion payment for the healthcare of its future retirees.  The third default on the down-payment in just over a year underscores the necessity of much-needed reforms for the beleaguered Postal Service.

Sexual Predator Honored With U.S. Postage Stamp.  Harvey Milk's only claim to fame is that he was the first openly homosexual candidate to be elected to public office (San Francisco city commissioner).  His chief cause was to do away with the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic. [...] While most sexual predators get time in prison and a dishonorable mention on the registry of sex offenders, Harvey Milk got his own California state holiday ("Harvey Milk Day") and, more recently, his own commemorative postage stamp, awarded by the Obama administration's USPS.

Amazon to deliver on Sundays using Postal Service fleet.  The Internet has been blamed for the death of the mail, but now it's offering hope to the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service.  Amazon announced Monday [11/11/2013] that it will begin Sunday deliveries using the government agency's fleet of foot soldiers, office workers and truck drivers to bring packages to homes seven days a week.

Amazon to deliver on Sundays in LA and New York after deal is struck with struggling Postal Service.  Retail giant Amazon is to start offering Sunday delivery to all its customers after striking a deal with the US Postal Service (USPS).  From November 17 shoppers in the New York and LA areas will be able to select Sunday as a delivery day at the checkout.  While the offer will be free for Prime subscribers, regular customers will still have access to the service as long as they pay for business day delivery.

A Peek at Amazon's Contract with the Postal Service.  Amazon.com recently unveiled an agreement with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages in some markets on Sunday, the latest initiative by the e-commerce giant to be consumers' first and final shopping destination.  Amazon will deliver packages from its warehouses to Postal Service sites late Saturday or Sunday, and, under the terms of the deal, the agency will truck them to consumers' doorsteps.  Outside of some Sunday delivery during the Christmas holiday season, the deal marks the first broad Sunday delivery initiative for the Postal Service and could be a model for other retailers.

Post Office begins selling Harry Potter stamps Tuesday.  The first U.S. postage stamps to feature images from Harry Potter movies go on advance sale Tuesday at usps.com/stamps.  The U.S. Postal Service will produce 5 million booklets of 20 First-Class Forever Harry Potter stamps, says Susan McGowan, executive director of stamp services for the postal service. [...] McGowan notes that Harry's adventure into magic begins when he receives a letter inviting him to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Editor says...
Witchcraft is a religion, and the Postal Service is a vestigial branch of the federal government, which is now promoting that religion.  The people who usually whine about the separation of church and state are remarkably silent.

Harry Potter postage stamps go on sale Tuesday.  The United States Postal Service started selling Tuesday [11/12/2013] a limited run of Harry Potter-themed postage stamps, and officials are expect a high demand for the rare postage.

Harry Potter stamp riles Postal Service panel, traditional stamp collectors.  For more than half a century, a committee of cultural heavyweights has met behind closed doors, its deliberations kept secret, weighing the faces and images of Americana worthy of gracing U.S. postage stamps.  While its rulings have been advisory, they long carried the weight of writ. Now comes a youngster from across the seas.  He isn't what these leading lights from the fields of arts and letters, athletics, and philately had in mind.  For one, he seems kind of crass to some.  And worse, he isn't even American.

USPS ad for 'holiday stamps' omits Christmas — includes Kwanzaa, Hanukkah.  Where's Christmas? As one social media commentator rapidly noticed, a recent U.S. Postal Service advertisement to sell "holiday stamps" curiously omitted a Christmas or Christian-themed message, yet included portrayals of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.  The ad reported by The Blaze contained the text:  "Don't forget your holiday stamps.  You'll find them at your nearest post office or on eBay."  And below the text were pictures of three stamps:  One showed a candle holder with nine lighted candles, emblazoned with the word "Hanukkah."  Another showed an colorful symbol over an open book, above the block-type word "Kwanzaa."

The Editor says...
Kwanzaa is a religion, and the postal service is endorsing it.

Berkley, CA Councilman Wants Billions in Email Taxes — to Fund Post Office.  Yes, Leftists are talking about taxing emails.  Again.  Ponder for but a moment the monumental government overreach necessary to monitor and count every email every American sends.  Network Neutrality and President Barack Obama's Cyber Security Executive Order are [huge] government Web data grabs.  They pale in comparison to this.

Canada Post to end home delivery in five years.  Canada Post will phase out home delivery in urban areas over the next five years as the postal service struggles to rein in persistent losses.  Under a five-year plan released on Wednesday [12/11/2013], the cost of stamps will also rise and as many as 8,000 jobs will be eliminated.

Unions threaten protests, boycotts over Postal Service's Staples outlets.  The opening of Postal Service retail centers in dozens of Staples stores around the country is being met with threats of protests and boycotts by the agency's unions.

USPS IG finds sex on the job, stalkers and slashed tires.  Letter carriers stalking customers and postal employees getting personal in the back room while on duty were among the stranger incidents involving U.S. Postal Service employees in recent years, according to the agency's inspector general.  The USPS IG investigated multiple assault cases last year, which were released to the Washington Examiner through a Freedom of Information Act request.  Personal information was redacted from the reports.

Staples might save Post Office, unless unions get their way.  We all know the Post Office is hemorrhaging money.  So cutting costs is now Job One.  And what better way to cut costs, and enhance service in the process, than by outsourcing their retail operations?  Naturally, the unionistas are teed off.

Elizabeth Warren: Allow Post Office to Offer Checking Accounts, Small Loans.  In November, the U.S. Postal Service reported it had a $5 billion loss for Fiscal Year 2013, its seventh consecutive year with loss.  At the time, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe blamed Congress for the loss, citing an "inflexible business model."

The Editor says...
Brilliant.  Maybe the Post Office could sell gasoline, cigarettes and lottery tickets, too.

Aren't the lines at the P.O. slow enough already?
Transforming Post Offices into banks.  The U.S. postal service inspector general put out a report last week suggesting an intriguing way to shore up the ailing institution's finances:  Let the mailman double as a bank teller. [...] The post office would offer services designed to appeal to America's unbanked and under-banked — the more than 50 million adults who either have no checking or savings account, or use high-cost, predatory services like payday loans to supplement traditional banking needs.

Another completely insane proposal from Elizabeth Warren.  Why not turn an organization that can't figure out how to make money into a bank?  The Post Office can't pay its bills by delivering the mail.  Surely it can make money lending money to people who can't pay it back.

Former NRA president Charlton Heston to get US Post Office stamp.  The United States Postal Service has announced that former NRA President Charlton Heston will be honored with his own stamp.  The stamp is part of their "Legends of Hollywood" series, and while the specific issue date has not yet been determined, it will be issued sometime in 2014.  Heston was a five term president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003.

Postal Service Faces $100B in Debts and Unfunded Benefits.  The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) currently owes $99.8 billion in benefit payments to its current and retired workers but does not have the money, and if Congress does not act to fix the problem, the Postal Service may have to "implement contingency plans to ensure that mail delivery continues," according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  "At the end of fiscal year 2013," said the GAO, "USPS had about $100 billion in unfunded liabilities:  $85 billion in unfunded liabilities for benefits, including retiree-health, pension, and workers' compensation liabilities, and $15 billion in outstanding debt to the U.S. Treasury — the statutory limit."

Postal service employees use travel cards to gamble, pay bills and go bowling.  Postal employees have spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on gambling, bills and other personal expenses, according to a series of reports by the U.S. Postal Service inspector general.  Federal employees may use government credit cards for official travel expenses, but some used theirs to withdraw cash before hitting casinos.  Nearly a dozen reports on closed travel card theft investigations were obtained by the Washington Examiner in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Holder: 'Postal Service...Being Used to Facilitate Drug Dealing'.  "The postal service — the mails — are being used to facilitate drug dealing," Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.  "And we need to work with the Postal Service to come up with ways in which we get at that problem.  It is shocking to see the amount of drugs that get pumped into communities all around this country through our mail system.  "And we have to deal with it — that's a major problem we have to deal with."  Holder was responding to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who told the committee that the only way to get heroin and other drugs into Alaska's very remote communities "is through the mails."

USPS worker claimed $300k in disability checks for five years while fishing in Alaska.  A former U.S. Postal Service employee in Anchorage was arraigned Friday on charges he accepted at least $334,000 in disability and worker's comp payments while he spent his summers fishing.  The U.S. attorney's office says in a Friday release that 56-year-old Amacio Zamora Agcaoili Jr. was indicted by a federal grand jury on 18 counts, including theft of government funds.  They claim every summer between 2009 and 2013, he went dipnetting and fishing on multiple occasions despite being on disability.

Postal workers plan protest uptown.  U.S. Postal Service workers are planning a protest uptown Thursday [4/24/2014], as they rally against a plan to sell more postal services at Staples without postal service employees.  The 220,000-member American Postal Workers Union has been fighting the USPS for months over the Staples plan.  In November, the postal service began placing counters selling stamps and offering services such as sending packages and priority and certified mail in more than 80 Staples stores.

Postal Service posts another quarterly loss.  The Postal Service says it lost $1.9 billion over the first three months of this year and is pleading again for Congress to pass reforms to its financial system.

Harvey Milk stamp's debut celebrated in S.F., D.C..  U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin looked out at the crowd of politicians, federal officials and gay activists who had been invited to the White House on what would have been Harvey Milk's 84th birthday.  The occasion was the U.S. Postal Service's first day of issue Thursday [5/22/2014] for a stamp honoring the slain San Francisco supervisor and gay rights leader.  But as the venue would suggest, this was about a lot more than a stamp.

Mail Found Dumped in North Park Trash, Inspector General Investigating.  The U.S. Postal Service says it is investigating how hundreds of pieces of mail ended up in the trash last week.  "The whole neighborhood's mail was in the dumpster," including scores of city sticker renewal notices and "a lot of private mail," said Samuel Tenenbaum of the 60659 ZIP code, who made the discovery on Thursday [5/22/2014].

Catonsville postman accused in theft of 20K pieces of mail.  A Catonsville letter carrier who worked for the postal service for more than two decades stole more than 20,000 pieces of mail, according to federal authorities.  Jeffrey L. Shipley is accused of pilfering checks and money orders.  He is accused of filching passports and prescription medication.  He is accused of pilfering credit cards and Mother's Day cards.  He is even accused of stealing furniture from the United States Postal Service.  Shipley was charged in federal court last week with one count each of mail theft and delaying the mail.

Post Office Reform Is Real - And It's From Darrell Issa.  Darrell Issa has been waging an under-the-radar campaign to save the Postal Service for years now.  The most recent iteration of his plan, the Postal Reform Act, would save $17 billion over the next ten years for the USPS.  The major changes would be giving the USPS the ability to eliminate Saturday delivery and encouraging curbside rather than doorstep drop-offs.  Additionally, it would eliminate what the postal workers' union has claimed is the major deficit on the USPS budget:  a requirement that the USPS pre-fund retirement benefits to the tune of over $6 billion per year.

U.S. Postal Service losing tens of millions annually subsidizing shipments to Alaska.  Under a federal program exclusive to Alaska, the Postal Service is responsible for shipping more than 100 million pounds a year of apples, frozen meat, dog food, diapers and countless other consumer items to off-road villages in the sparsely populated outposts known as the bush.  Over three decades acting as freight forwarder, the agency has lost $2.5 billion.  In many ways, the Alaska Bypass, as it's called, keeps Hooper Bay and 100 other isolated villages in rural Alaska afloat.



 Editor's Comments:   The sheer volume of the US Mail is rather astonishing.  But the Postal Service brings this burden upon itself by handling unsolicited junk mail at reduced rates, which leads to lower profits for them and more junk mail for us.  There is one good thing to say about email spam and pop-up ads on the internet:  They have made paper junk mail less economical.

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